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Morrisons has written to farmers to calm fears that a planned takeover could undermine its agreements with suppliers. In a letter to 3,000 farmers, David Potts, chief executive, stressed that the takeover consortium, led by the American private equity firm Fortress, had made commitments that “carry genuine weight” (The Times £). Morrisons has written to the UK farmers whose produce fills its supermarket shelves to reassure them that the takeover offer led by US investment firm Fortress will protect the character of the business and its relationship with its suppliers (The Guardian). Morrisons is under mounting pressure to extract legally binding commitments from the US consortium behind a £9.5bn takeover that it will not damage the legacy of the supermarket’s founding family (The Telegraph).

Three Morrisons directors stand to rake in up to £35 million from the proposed sale of the business, raising questions over whether bumper executive share awards are contributing to the wave of private equity buyouts sweeping the UK. (The Times £)

The Times writes: “The planned deal with the North American investors will put Potts and Strain on the road to even greater riches, raising questions over whether the deal was in the best interests of all shareholders.” (The Times £)

One of the world’s largest tobacco groups Philip Morris International has struck a £1bn deal to buy a UK developer of inhalers, the next step in what the owner of the Marlboro cigarette brand said was its plan to become a “healthcare and wellness company” (The Financial Times £). Marlboro-maker Philip Morris International has swooped on British inhaler firm Vectura in an audacious £1bn takeover (The Daily Mail). Cigarette maker Philip Morris International says it will buy Vectura Group as part of an expansion beyond tobacco and nicotine (Sky News).

One of the world’s biggest cigarette makers faces a backlash after striking a £927 million deal to buy a British respiratory drug company that works on treatments for smoking-related diseases (The Times £). Ministers have been urged to intervene in tobacco giant Philip Morris’s £1 billion takeover of the lung treatments specialist Vectura. (The Times £)

The Times’ Alistair Osborne writes: “How can the Vectura board, chaired by Bruno Angelici, bring themselves to sell out to this lot, let alone recommend the deal?… “hat about its duties to other stakeholders? And not least its 250 scientists? Vectura refused to comment on the internal reaction to the deal. But, as the latest annual report shows, the ten disease areas targeted by its inhalers include lung cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.” (The Times £)

“There is a paradox in a tobacco giant moving into healthcare. Pharmaceuticals keep people alive. Cigarettes kill them,” writes The FT’s Lex column. “The company is investing some $8bn in new technology, including making better e-cigarettes. Philip Morris therefore sees overlap between its own inhalation research and that of Vectura.” (The Financial Times £)

The chairman of Marks & Spencer has admitted that Ocado is still struggling to meet demand from customers, almost a year after the two businesses signed an online delivery tie-up. (The Telegraph)

Food makers and pub chains have complained that hauliers are raising prices and prioritising bigger customers as a shortage of drivers reaches crisis point. (The Times £)

Food prices could rise by about 5% by the autumn – and turkeys and pigs in blankets could be in short supply this Christmas – as shortages of delivery drivers, abattoir staff and other workers drive up pay and other costs. (The Guardian)

Head honchos at Sainsbury’s have insisted it will not fall prey to private equity as predators circle the sector. Chairman Martin Scicluna speaking at the company’s annual meeting said that bosses are ‘clearly happy’ with the strategy laid out by chief executive Simon Roberts and ‘on the execution of that plan’. (The Daily Mail)

Amazon has poached a long-serving senior Tesco executive to run its bricks-and-mortar retail operation, in the latest escalation of its attack on the high street. (The Telegraph)

Uber will this week name a former Tesco executive as the head of its European delivery arm amid a frenzy of competition in the rapid grocery sector. (Sky News)

Only the fittest will survive high street cull, warns Itsu and Pret founder Julian Metcalfe. Retail magnate fears ‘rocketing’ food costs and ‘perilous’ staffing shortages will lead to even more empty shops in cities and towns. (The Telegraph)

Drive-through restaurants used to be a US-inspired novelty but a big increase in custom during the pandemic means money is pouring into new UK sites, with even upmarket names looking to serve food through car windows for the first time. (The Guardian)

More than 1,000 UK businesses reached the £1 million sales mark selling through Amazon last year, the marketplace giant has revealed. (The Times £)

It is not just beloved British animated stars Wallace and Gromit who relish a slice of Wensleydale cheese. The tangy, crumbly treat made in the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales is now about to be gobbled up by Canada’s Saputo. (The Financial Times £)

Britain’s food supply is highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, a leading food expert has warned, saying greater emphasis on domestic production would boost the UK’s food security. (The Guardian)

As soaring food prices and a years-long economic slump force Russians to tighten their belts, retailers are tapping surging demand for no-frills hard discount stores. (The Financial Times £)

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