Morrisons agrees to $8.7 billion takeover led by Fortress-led group

Morrisons may soon get a new owner. SoftBank-owned Fortress Investment Group agreed on Saturday to take over the British retailer for $8.7 billion.

The American investment management firm teamed up with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Koch Real Estate Investments to bid for Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain.

That offer tops an unsolicited $7.6 billion bid from the U.S. private equity firm, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Morrisons rejected CD&R’s offer last month, saying it was far too low.

Shareholders get to vote on Fortress’ offer, which is lower than what one of Morrisons’ leading investors, JO Hambro, asked for last week.

Private funds find British supermarket groups attractive because they generate cash and own property.

Under British takeover rules, CD&R has until July 17 to come back with an offer. The firm had no immediate comment.

Morrisons has a partnership agreement with Amazon, which owns the upscale supermarket chain, Whole Foods. Analysts speculate that Amazon as well as other private equity firms could emerge as a possible bidders.

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