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Shares in Morrisons fell nearly 4 per cent in the first trading day after Clayton, Dubilier and Rice beat rival bidder Fortress Investment to win the £10bn takeover battle for the UK grocer.

The shares declined 3.7 per cent to 285.9p in early trading in London on Monday, two days after the US private equity group offered 287p a share in an auction process run by the UK’s takeover regulator. CD&R’s offer was one penny above the rival bid from the consortium led by SoftBank-owned Fortress.

The winning bid was 2p a share above CD&R’s existing offer and represents an enterprise value of £9.95bn.

The private equity firm would be paying a 61 per cent premium to the price of Morrisons’ shares before the bidding battle took off four months ago. The total transaction value is 11.8 times the group’s underlying profit for the year to January, before adjusting for the reimbursement of a government business rates holiday.

Line chart of Price moves in pence in London trading this year showing Four-month takeover battle for Morrisons' pushes up shares

Sir Terry Leahy is earmarked to become the chair, two people briefed on the private equity firm’s plans said on Sunday. Leahy was chief executive of UK grocery market leader Tesco for more than a decade. He has been a senior adviser to CD&R since he left Tesco in 2011.

Andrew Higginson, non-executive director at Morrisons, said he could not confirm Leahy would be appointed chair. “But I imagine having him on their roster would be a very sensible move,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.

“I know Terry very well having worked with him for a number of years and he’ll be a very good chair for the business,” he added. Higginson is due to step down along with other independent non-executive directors once the deal is completed.

The takeover needs to secure approval by shareholders at a meeting set for October 19.

Source : https://www.ft.com/content/1f110dc4-5802-472c-859f-6ac9adcdead3

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