// Morrisons’ biggest shareholder refuses to back a £6.3bn takeover by Fortress
// Silchester International owns 15.1% of the Big 4 grocer
// It said the structure of the deal meant there was “insufficient opportunity for competing bids to emerge”
Morrisons’ largest shareholder Silchester International has said it is “not inclined” to back a £6.3 billion takeover by US private equity firm Fortress.
Silchester, which owns 15.1 per cent of the Big 4 grocer, said the board should allow more time for offers to emerge that might better the current Fortress bid.
It added that the structure of the deal meant there was “insufficient opportunity for competing bids to emerge” and “there is little in the recommended offer that could not be achieved by Morrison as a listed company”.
Morrisons shareholders are due to vote on the Fortress offer on August 16.
Silchester said it encouraged the Morrisons board “to allow more time to respond to other parties who might offer better value to Morrison’s public shareholders”.
The company also highlighted Morrisons’ advantages such as its direct ownership of many of its store properties, strong brand, and an integrated supply chain unique to the industry.
The news comes after it was revealed that a £5.5 billon approach from US buyout giant Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) was swiftly rejected by Morrisons.
Morrisons subsequently agreed a £6.3 billion offer from a consortium led by Fortress.
US private equity giant Apollo then revealed it was also considering a bid, while CD&R could still come back with a higher offer.
Fortress said it “does not anticipate engaging in any material store sale and leaseback transactions”.