A statement published alongside the new offer read: “The Morrisons directors believe that the increased Fortress offer is in the best interests of Morrisons shareholders as a whole, and accordingly unanimously recommend that Morrisons shareholders vote in favour of the resolutions required to implement the increased Fortress offer.
The new bid is worth £400m more than Fortress' previous, initial approach.
Under the new terms, Morrisons shareholders will be entitled to receive 272 pence for each Morrisons share.
Investment in Morrisons’ evolution
Oppidum Bidco, Fortress’ acquisition vehicle behind the investment, said the new offer was a reflection of its commitment to becoming the new owner of Morrisons and a 'long-term steward of this great British company through the next stage of its evolution'.
The increase to Fortress’ initial offer followed speculation surrounding a counter offer from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), which threatened to spark a bidding war for the supermarket retailer.
The panel executive has ruled that, unless it consents otherwise, CD&R must – by 5.00 p.m. on 9 August 2021 – either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Morrisons under Rule 2.7 of the Takeover Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for Morrisons.
CD&R asked for more time to consider its options, prompting Morrisons to adjourn the court meeting and general meeting required to implement the increased Fortress offer until 27 August 2021.
Fortress’ initial offer for the supermarket chain was rejected by Morrisons’ largest shareholder, Silchester International, which holds a 14.14% stake in the business.
A statement from the group said: “Silchester encourages Morrisons' board to allow more time to respond to other parties who might offer better value to Morrisons' public shareholders.”
Silchester declined to comment on the latest offer from Fortress.
Meanwhile, Joubere Food Group has acquired healthcare catering company Tillery Valley Foods, which supplies prepared meals to the NHS, from hospitality business Sodexo.