Upon the deal, Morrisons – Britain's fourth-largest supermarket chain – will be valued at $8.7 billion. Fortress Investment Group topped a rival offer from a US private equity firm. The company is making more than half of the fresh food it sells.
Fortress - a global investment manager - has approximately $53 billion in assets under management as of March. Moreover, it is an independently operated subsidiary of Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. The company's offer to Morrisons represents a premium of 42% to the latter's closing share price of 178 pence on June 18. On Friday, July 2, the stock closed at 243 pence.
"We have looked very carefully at Fortress' approach, their plans for the business and their overall suitability as an owner of a unique British food-maker and shopkeeper with over 110,000 colleagues and an important role in British food production and farming," Morrisons Chairman Andrew Higginson stated.
Despite Morrisons' enthusiasm, Britain's opposition Labour Party called for scrutiny from the government. Seema Malhotra, the Party's spokeswoman on business, stated: "Ministers must urgently work with Morrisons and the consortium to ensure that crucial commitments to protect the workforce and the pension scheme are legally binding and met."
At the moment of writing, Morrisons stock price is trading 11.13% higher at £266.50.
Sources: reuters.com, yahoo.com