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Morrisons quashes Ocado bid rumours

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Morrisons has quashed rumours that it is set to mount a takeover bid for online grocer Ocado.

Speculation in The City resulted in the internet supermarket’s share prices rocketing 4.1 per cent to 144.7p yesterday, but it appears an acquisition is not on the cards.

A Morrisons spokesperson told Retail Gazette: “There is absolutely no truth in the rumours whatsoever.”

Yesterday’s Market Report in the Daily Mail hinted that a cash bid was potentially being lined up, and retail analyst Jonathan Banks suggests that if the speculation was true this would fill “an obvious gap” for Morrisons given its lack of online presence compared to main rivals Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s.

He warned, though, that when companies start filling gaps they can often stretch too far and Ocado’s demographic is completely different to Morrisons “which may cause some problems if any acquisition took place”.

“The supermarket does have a gap to fill, but look at the trouble it had with the Safeway takeover - it’s only just recovering from that episode now.

“Any future takeover should be taken with a great deal of caution.”

The state of the current marketplace would suggest that Morrisons should be considering its online options, and Banks agrees.

He stated: “It’s difficult to find sites for bricks and mortar stores, and going online could overcome these difficulties.”

Published on Friday 26 November by Editorial Assistant

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