The consortium led by Fortress Investment Group has raised its agreed bid for Bradford-based supermarket giant Morrisons by £400 million to £6.7 billion — with its offer now standing at £2.72 per share including a 2p special dividend.
Morrisons shares rose again on Friday — to around £2.78 — suggesting some investors expect a yet higher offer for the company.
Analysts have speculated that Amazon, which already has a partnership deal with Morrisons, could still enter the bidding for the Bradford firm.
Fortress, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group, is backed in its proposed deal by a consortium that includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), Koch Real Estate Investments and Cambourne Life Investment, an investment vehicle of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Fortress said in a stock exchange statement it noted the speculation regarding a possible counter-offer by US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).
Morrisons rejected an earlier £5.5 billion cash takeover approach pitched at £2.30 a share from CD&R.
“(Fortress) remains committed to becoming the new owner of Morrisons and to being a responsible long-term steward of this great British company through the next stage of its evolution,” said Fortress.
Morrisons said its board had re-confirmed its unanimous recommendation for the Fortress-led offer.
The board had previously agreed a Fortress offer worth £2.54 a share or a total of £6.3 billion on July 3.
However, some Morrisons shareholders including Silchester, M&G and JO Hambro had indicated that offer was too low.
For approval, the offer needs the support of shareholders representing at least 75% in value of voting investors at the meeting.