US private equity company, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has won an auction for the UK's fourth-largest supermarket, Morrisons with a £7bn ($9.5bn) bid.
The board is now expected to recommend shareholders accept the new offer at a meeting set for 19 October. If the bid is approved by shareholders, CD&R will take over Morrisons by November.
Andrew Higginson, Chair of Morrisons, (pictured), said, “This final offer from CD&R represents excellent value for shareholders while at the same time protecting the fundamental character of Morrisons for all stakeholders
“CD&R have good retail experience, a strong record of developing and growing the businesses in which they invest, and they share our vision and ambition for Morrisons.
We remain confident that CD&R will be a responsible, thoughtful and careful owner of
an important British grocery business.
“Shareholders will now have the final say and, if the offer is approved, the Board is confident that Morrisons will continue to go from strength to strength under CD&R's ownership.”
The deal marks a return to the grocery sector for Sir Terry Leahy, the former chief executive of Tesco, who is a senior adviser to CD&R.
Leahy said, “We are gratified by the recommendation of the Morrisons Board and look forward to the shareholder vote to approve the transaction. We continue to believe that Morrisons is an excellent business, with a strong management team, a clear strategy, and good prospects.”