Silchester International – which holds a 14.14% stake in the supermarket – said it was ‘not inclined to support’ the takeover led by Fortress Investment Group. Shareholders are due to vote on the offer next month (16 August).
A statement issued by the investment firm read: “Silchester encourages Morrisons’ board to allow more time to respond to other parties who might offer better value to Morrisons’ public shareholders.”
Morrisons announced on 3 July that the board ‘unanimously agreed’ to the takeover offered by Fortress, CPPIB, and Koch Real Estate Investments, which valued the business at 254p-per-share – about £6.3bn. The total £9.5bn deal would also include payment of net debt of £3.2bn.
Speculation surrounding the future of Morrisons has laid rise to a potential bidding war, with the likes of Apollo Global Management throwing its hat in to the ring.
The group announced – together with its subsidiaries – it was in the preliminary stages of evaluating a possible offer for the supermarket chain, but no offer had been made as of yet.
Chris Elliott, head of market insights at Edge by Ascential, said questions still remained surrounding other rival looking to outbid Fortress.
“With Apollo considering a bid, there is still one unanswered question of whether Amazon will enter the fray,” he said. “Amazon and Morrisons have had a partnership since 2016 and there has always been speculation that Amazon would bid for the supermarket to significantly expand its grocery offering.
“It may then feel the pressure to bid but given its acquisition of Whole Foods in the US, it may be looking for a more premium retailer and while it could be tricky, Sainsbury’s is arguably now its best option if it wants to enter the market via a takeover.”
Meanwhile, Griffith Foods has acquired ingredients supplier The Flavourworks for an undisclosed sum, as it continues to strengthen its position within the UK market.