Morrisons rejects £5.5bn CD&R takeover proposal

Bradford-based supermarket giant Morrisons has rejected a proposed £5.5 billion cash offer from U.S. private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), saying it is far too low.

Morrisons said on Saturday it rejected a proposed cash offer of £2.30 a share from CD&R.

Morrisons shares closed on Friday at about £1.78.

Morrisons said the “unsolicited highly conditional non-binding proposal” which was received on June 14 “significantly undervalued Morrisons and its future prospects.”

Morrisons has a current stock market value of about £4.3 billion and employs about 110,000 staff.

Silchester International Investors, one of the UK’s biggest boutique asset managers, is the largest shareholder of Morrison with a 15% stake.

Morrisons said in a statement: “The board of Morrisons evaluated the conditional proposal together with its financial adviser, Rothschild & Co, and unanimously concluded that the conditional proposal significantly undervalued Morrisons and its future prospects.

“Accordingly, the board rejected the conditional proposal on 17 June 2021.”

CD&R had said earlier on Saturday it was considering a possible cash offer for Morrisons.

Under UK takeover rules, CD&R has until July 17 to announce a firm intention to make an offer.