Morrisons’ shares fall on back of mystery sell-off

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SHARES in Wm Morrison Supermarkets fell yesterday after UBS confirmed it had placed around 100 million shares in the firm at 280p for an institutional seller.

The sale represents a 4.4 per cent stake in Morrisons and is equivalent to eight days’ worth of volume. The seller of the holding was not known.

However, the size of the disposal closely tallied with a holding owned by Walter Scott & Partners, which declined to comment.

The placing comes less than a week after Morrisons said it would invest more than £200m in a 25-year deal with online grocer Ocado, as it seeks to catch up with rivals in home delivery.

Some analysts have questioned the logic of the deal for Morri-sons.

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said it was “a potential waste of capital that does not yet credibly lead to a profitable grocery online business”.

However, Bradford-based Morrisons’ chief executive Dalton Philips said last week: “This agreement is a significant strategic step for Morrisons.

“From a standing start, Morrisons will be competing in the fast-growing online channel by the end of this year with a really compelling proposition.”