British supermarket chain, Morrisons, is preparing for an auction to determine the winner of its takeover bid. The company is currently engaged in discussions with two US private equity firms and the UK’s Takeover Panel to initiate the auction process. Initially, Morrisons supported a £6.5 billion offer from the Softbank-led Fortress consortium, but later recommended that shareholders back a £7 billion bid from Clayton, Dubillier & Rice. However, these offers are not final, and the auction could potentially attract higher bids. The auction is expected to take place before October 18, and once completed, Morrisons will make a decision regarding the recommended offer to shareholders.

Although monetary value is a key factor in the decision-making process, Morrisons has emphasized that it also takes into account the wider responsibilities of ownership. This includes considering stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, customers, and pension trustees. Concerns have been raised by politicians and trade unions regarding the takeover, particularly in light of the recent acquisition of another major UK supermarket, Asda, by a private equity firm. There are worries that the new owner of Morrisons may sell off the company’s properties, leading to increased costs for the business in the future.

– Useful link 1: Official Morrisons website
– Useful link 2: The Guardian article on private equity buyouts