Morrisons suitor CD&R given more time to make counter offer

FILE PHOTO: A Morrisons store is pictured in St Albans, Britain, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Morrisons suitor, U.S. private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), has been given more time to consider a counter takeover bid for the supermarket group.

Britain’s Takeover Panel, which regulates takeover activity, said on Monday CD&R would have until August 20 to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Morrisons or walk away, a so-called “put-up or shut-up” order, extending a previous deadline of August 9.

Morrisons, which on Friday agreed a raised 6.7 billion pounds ($9.3 billion) offer from a consortium led by Softbank owned Fortress Investment Group, had requested the Takeover Panel set a revised deadline for CD&R.

On Friday, Morrisons also postponed an Aug. 16 shareholder meeting to vote on the Fortress offer and set a new date of Aug. 27.

Fortress’ revised offer comprises 270 pence per Morrisons share plus a 2 pence a share special dividend. Fortress said it “remains committed to becoming the new owner of Morrisons.”

However, shares in Morrisons, Britain’s fourth biggest grocer after market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, closed Friday at 278.8 pence, indicating investors are hoping for a higher offer.

($1 = 0.7209 pounds)

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