Morrisons shareholders approve £7bn takeover

Shareholders of Bradford-based supermarket giant Morrisons on Tuesday approved a roughly £7 billion cash takeover offer from US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

Morrisons chair Andrew Higginson said: We thank shareholders for the strong support received at today’s meetings.

“We remain confident that CD&R will be a responsible, thoughtful and careful owner of Morrisons and we will now move forward with the remaining steps in the acquisition process.

Terry Leahy, senior adviser to CD&R funds, said: “We are very pleased to have received the approval of shareholders and are excited at the opportunity that lies ahead.

“The particular heritage, culture and operating model of Morrisons are key features of the company and we will be very mindful of these during our tenure as owners.

“We very much look forward to working with the Morrisons team, not just to preserve the company’s many strengths – but to build on these, with innovation, capital and new technology – helping the business realise its full potential and delivering for all of its stakeholders.”

Leahy is a former CEO of Tesco and worked with many of the current Morrisons management team when they were employed at Tesco.

Including debt, the bid is valued at just under £10 billion.

Bloomberg has reported that CD&R’s deal for Morrison will be funded with more than £3.4 billion of equity from funds managed by the private equity firm and that debt of about £6.6 billion will be provided by bridge loans and revolving credit facilities by Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Mizuho Financial Group and BNP Paribas.

The UK’s Takeover Panel said on October 2 that CD&R had offered £2.87 a share for Morrisons, while a consortium led by Softbank-owned Fortress Investment Group offered £2.86 a share.

CD&R is paying a 61% premium to the price of Morrisons’ shares before the takeover battle began.