Buyout firm tightens grip on Morrisons with pensions deal

A US private equity firm has opened another front in the bidding war for Morrisons by reaching a pensions agreement with trustees.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) made a £7 billion offer for the retailer last month, overtaking a £6.7 billion proposal from Fortress, a rival firm.

However, the trustees of Morrisons’ pension funds warned the buyout would “materially weaken” their finances.

Trustee chairman Steve Southern said the funds, which hold the retirement benefits of 85,000 supermarket workers, needed an “additional security package”.

READ MORE: Morrisons in discrimination row after slashing unjabbed sick pay

This morning, CD&R said it had agreed a “comprehensive mitigation package” with the trustees.

The specifics are unknown, but last month an expert said the company would have to “get out their cheque book”.

Steve Southern, who has also held talks with Fortress, said CD&R would “provide the necessary support and reassurance to the schemes”.

Sir Terry Leahy, the ex-Tesco boss and adviser to the bidder, said they were “delighted” to reach a deal.

It showed “the respectful approach CD&R would take to its wider stakeholder responsibilities”, he added.

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