Morrisons shareholders to vote today on £7 billion takeover

Morrisons shareholders are today expected to vote to sell off the 122-year-old supermarket to a US private equity giant for £7 billion.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) won a four-month bidding war against Majestic Wine-owner Fortress, offering 287p per share.

It needs support from 75 per cent of investors for the deal to pass.

Some – including Silchester International, which owned 15.1 per cent of Morrisons – raised concerns earlier this year, but fell quiet as bids rose above 270p.

READ MORE: Morrisons boss hits back at ‘commercial predators’ label

If the takeover is cleared today, cash is expected to be paid out to shareholders by November 10.

CD&R has downplayed suggestions that it could sell off Morrisons’ properties, though analysts believe this is inevitable to make a decent return.

This week, experts pointed out that taxpayers will “subsidise” the deal if the buyout firm uses debt to finance the deal.

“This deal simply stinks,” Labour MP and tax avoidance campaigner Margaret Hodge said.

“I urge the government to ensure that the taxpayer is not getting ripped off.”

The likely takeover will shift investor attention back to the supermarket’s trading performance.

In Morrisons’ interim results, pre-tax profit fell by 43.4 per cent to £82 million, which it blamed on the “biblical costs” of Covid-19 precautions.

Sales dipped 0.3 per cent in the six months to August 1.

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