City News: Greggs back in profitability but rising costs worry investors
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City Snapshot: CD&R Morrisons deadline extended as bidding war looms
9 August 2021

The man who transformed Tesco into Britain’s biggest retailer is scrambling to convince partners at American private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice to back a 280p-a-share bid for Morrisons (The Telegraph). Private equity giant Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) is pondering whether to raise its offer for Morrisons after an increased bid for the chain came in from a consortium led by buyout rival Fortress. (The Times £)

The group behind a private equity swoop for Morrisons has blindsided a rival American suitor with a “pre-emptive strike”, increasing the value of its offer for the supermarket to almost £10bn (The Telegraph). US private equity group Fortress has increased its offer for the supermarket chain Wm Morrison to nearly £10bn, raising the stakes in a fierce battle for control of one of Britain’s biggest grocers (The Financial Times £). The US-backed bidder for Morrisons has increased its offer for the supermarket group by £400m to £6.7bn in an attempt to fend off a rival suitor and win over reluctant shareholders (The Guardian). A takeover bid for the supermarket chain Morrisons by a private equity-backed consortium has been increased to £6.7bn following speculation of a rival offer (Sky News). The increased offer, worth 272p a share, comes after some key investors rejected a previous 254p a share offer (The BBC).

The takeover of Morrisons has been backed by two influential shareholder advisers. Glass Lewis and its rival Institutional Shareholder Services, ISS, have circulated advice to major institutional investors recommending they vote in favour of the takeover by a group of foreign investors led by private equity firm Fortress. (The Daily Mail)

Ruth Sutherland in The Daily Mail writes that “if Morrisons’ board and investors grew a backbone, it could turn the tide against greed, short-termism and vulture capitalism”. “Neither bidder looks particularly fabulous as an owner for such an important business,” she writes. (The Daily Mail)

Asda chief executive Roger Burnley has left the UK supermarket group earlier than expected as its new owners, the billionaire Issa brothers, increase operational control following their £6.8bn takeover (The Financial Times £). The Issa brothers will take direct charge of Asda’s day-to-day operations after the abrupt departure of its chief executive (The Daily Mail).

Mohsin Issa, one of the two billionaire brothers from Blackburn who run EG Group, the owner of Asda and Euro Garages, gave evidence last month during a court clash over Caffè Nero Mohsin, 50, said he did not need to ask for permission from the board before pursuing deals. (The Times £)

The battle between the owner of Marlboro cigarettes and a private equity group for control of the UK inhaler maker Vectura intensified on Sunday as Philip Morris International raised its bid to more than £1bn (The Financial Times £). The takeover battle for Vectura, the respiratory drugs company, has intensified after Philip Morris International, one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, increased its offer yesterday (The Times £). The takeover battle for Vectura became a full-scale bidding war yesterday as Philip Morris International outbid its private equity rival for a second time (The Daily Mail). Tobacco giant Philip Morris has raised its bid to buy respiratory drugmaker Vectura to more than £1bn (The BBC).

One of Britain’s biggest convenience store groups, McColl’s, is plotting a £30m cash call to accelerate the expansion of its partnership with Morrisons, the supermarket giant. A chunk of the proceeds is expected to be used to pay down some of its debt. (Sky News)

Petrol station forecourts fill up with supermarkets – They have become unlikely hot property as struggling grocers rush for the final frontier in the space race. But will electric cars spoil the party? (The Times £)

The lockdown delivery bonanza has resulted in disused railway arches and industrial units becoming home to some of the UK’s fastest-growing startups as “dark” stores and kitchens spread across the country. (The Telegraph)

Staff at Ocado have been told that they can work wherever they want in the world for one month a year in the latest reimagining of post-pandemic workplaces (The Times £).

Retailers have been accused of doing too little to warn customers about recalled cat food that has been linked to the deaths of potentially thousands of pets, prompting concern that some remains on sale in shops. An investigation by the Food Standards Agency, which began on 24 May, has yet to reach a conclusion about the cause of the deaths, but it has focused on the possibility of dangerous mycotoxins in batches of Applaws, Ava and Sainsbury’s hypoallergenic cat food. (The Guardian)

India’s Swiggy, the food delivery group backed by SoftBank, will seek to gain an edge over its listed rival Zomato by shifting the bulk of its business to deliveries of groceries and other goods (The Financial Times £)

The Times (£) talks to former Just Eat chief executive David Buttress on how personalising the customer experience was vital to the company’s growth. (The Times £)

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