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Third private equity firm mulls bid to buy Morrisons

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter
A third private equity company has said it is eyeing a takeover move for Morrisons, furthering speculation there could be a dramatic bidding war for the Yorkshire retailer.

Investment giant Apollo said on Monday it is considering launching its own bid after the Bradford-based supermarket chain agreed a £6.3 billion private equity takeover offer on Saturday.

Morrisons shares soared by more than 11% to around 267p on Monday morning.

New-York based asset manager Apollo Global Management confirmed that it is “in the preliminary stages of evaluating a possible offer for Morrisons” on behalf of investment firms managed by Apollo.

It added that no formal approach has yet been made to the board of the Bradford-based chain.

However, the update will spark speculation that shareholders could see a bidding war for the supermarket group.

The interest from Apollo comes two days after Morrisons told investors it had agreed a £6.3 billion bid from a consortium of investment groups.

The offer, led by Softbank-owned Fortress which has partnered with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Koch Real Estate Investments, will see shareholders receive 252p per share plus a 2p special dividend.

The agreement came almost two weeks after private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) made an approach last month.
In a statement on Monday, Apollo added: “There can be no certainty that any offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any such offer might be made.”

It is understood that Apollo hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to advise over any potential offer.

Listed convenience store chain McColl’s told investors that its supply contract with Morrisons would not be affected by any potential change in the retailer’s ownership.

In February, McColl’s extended its wholesale supply contract by a further three years to January 2027.

“McColl’s looks forward to continuing to build on the strong relationship developed with Morrisons over the years to serve our local neighbourhood communities with a high quality convenience offer,” it said.

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