A major Morrisons investor has said potential buyers for the Big 4 grocer should set their proposals at around £6.5 billion.
J O Hambro, which holds a three per cent stake, said 270p-a-share offers “merit engagement and consideration” from the board.
Two weeks ago, Morrisons rebuffed a £5.5 billion bid for Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, claiming 230p-a-share “significantly undervalued” the company.
J O Hambro supported the decision, and said the New York private equity firm should pay a “fair price” to merge Morrisons’ petrol station business with its Motor Fuels Group.
However, Legal and General – another shareholder – criticised the potential buyer, arguing they would not add any “genuine value”.
Clayton, Dubilier and Rice has until July 17 to improve its offer.
Rival bidders, which may include Amazon and the private equity firms Apollo and Lone Star, are thought to be waiting for its next move.
The buyout is controversial because some commentators believe that Morrisons, which employs 118,000 people, may face the same fate as Debenhams.
A recent report into the clothing giant’s collapse, which saw 12,000 jobs wiped out, concluded that the business “never recovered from private equity ownership” in the early 2000s.
J O Hambro hit the headlines earlier this month as part of a trillion-dollar group of investors who accused Morrisons of “lagging behind” on healthy food.
Unlike Big 4 competitors Tesco and Sainsbury’s, the supermarket has not committed to selling more nutritious products.
A separate report from the Food Foundation found that “encouraging healthy diets” was Morrisons’ weakest area of 10 sustainability targets.