// CD&R has been told to significantly increase its offer for Morrisons
// Since the initial bid, no other private equity firms have jumped at the possibility to buy the supermarket chain
The private-equity firm behind rebuffed interest in Morrisons has been told to up its potential offer as the backlash against a proposed purchase of the supermarket chain intensifies.
City brokers told Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), the multinational investment firm behind the £5.5 billion takeover of the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket, to significantly increase its offer from the 230 pence per share suggested last week.
Experts believe the grocers’ board, led by chair Andy Higginson, will not accept anything less than 280 pence per share – a sum closer to £6.7 billion, which is the same amount that EG Group owners the Issa brothers and TDR Capital paid for rival Asda in February.
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While rumours about Morrisons’ future ownership have been circulating since the bid was initially revealed over the weekend, CD&R has yet to make a new offer. No other private equity firms have jumped at the possibility to buy Morrisons as a result of this strategy.
Despite having an existing wholesale agreement with the grocer and a growing interest in taking on the UK’s established and very competitive grocery business, Amazon has also yet to make a move.
As the speculation grows, so does the pushback from stakeholders who are concerned about the UK’s second-biggest food manufacturer and largest customer of British farmers being sold to a foreign company.
Labour’s shadow business minister, the leader of the shopworkers union, and the National Farmers’ Union have all asked for involvement since Monday.
CD&R has until July 17 to indicate a firm intention to make an offer for Morrisons under UK takeover laws.