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Fortress looks to take WM Morrisons private with ?6.2bn takeover bid

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Thursday 22 Jul 2021

Fortress looks to take WM Morrisons private with ?6.2bn takeover bid

(Sharecast News) - The US private equity firm Fortress is looking to take British supermarket Morrisons private by 26 August if it can obtain shareholder backing for its £6.2bn takeover bid.

Fortress' 252.0p per share offer, coupled with a 2.0p cash dividend, has already been unanimously supported by Morrisons' board but still requires the backing of 75% of shareholders at a meeting on 16 August.

Bankers and advisers will net £275.0m from the deal if it goes through, with £169.0m going out to HSBC to RBC for financing the deal, as well £36.0m for broking advice, plus £17.0m in legal advice, according to the deal's scheme document. Morrisons will also pay £42.0m for advice on the bid from Rothschild & Co, Jefferies and Shore Capital.

Scheme documents published on Thursday made no mention of Apollo, a separate US private equity firm that said on Tuesday that it would not make its own bid for the retailer but would instead try to muscle its way into the Fortress deal. However, it still remains possible that another bid could derail the takeover, with American private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice considering making another bid for Morrisons.

Fortress will put up 54% of the funding for the takeover, according to the scheme document, and has also received financial backing from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which will put up 31%.

The remaining 15% will come from billionaire oil industrialists the Koch family, with Koch Industries set to eventually own 22% of the firm buying Morrisons.

As of 1145 BST, Morrisons shares were up 0.51% at 266.44p.

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