Morrisons supermarket – which employs over 1000 people in Deeside – agrees £6.3 billion takeover
Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket chain Morrisons has agreed to a £6.3 billion takeover bid from a consortium of investment groups led by the owner of Majestic Wines.
Under the terms of the offer, Softbank-owned Fortress along with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Koch Real Estate Investments, will see shareholders receive 252p per share plus a 2p special dividend.
The all-cash offer is subject to shareholder approval.
US investment firm Fortress paid £95m for UK specialist wine retailer Majestic Wine in 2019.
Morrisons has over 490 stores in the UK including Connah’s Quay and Saltney.
The company also operates a 24 hour-seven day a week food production site at Deeside Industrial Estate where it employs a workforce of around 1,100.
It produces 490,000 tonnes of product a week including ready to eat chicken and sliced meats.
Unite, the union representing Morrisons workers, has called for urgent talks with the supermarket.
The union is warning that without ‘unbreakable guarantees’ on jobs and conditions, it will not cooperate with any sale.
Adrian Jones, Unite national officer for road transport, representing Morrisons’ warehouse and distribution workers, said:
“Unite is now seeking urgent talks with Morrisons to protect our members’ jobs and conditions.
“We won’t allow another takeover of a strong UK business see the workers trampled over as the boardroom and shareholders stampede towards their bonanzas.
“Morrisons is unique among UK supermarkets in that is owns its supply chain, from the farm to the warehouse.
“Morrisons workers have made this business strong and profitable – they deserve to have their dedication rewarded by the owners.
“Unite will meet urgently with the management team to turn their promises that the workers’ jobs and terms will not be undermined into unbreakable guarantees.
“Only with such cast-iron guarantees can there be any hope of Unite and our members cooperating with this sale.”
Andrew Higginson, chairman of Morrisons, said: “The Morrisons directors believe that the offer represents a fair and recommendable price for shareholders which recognises Morrisons’ future prospects.”
“Morrisons is an outstanding business and our performance through the pandemic has further improved our standing and enabled us to enter the discussions with Fortress from a hard-won position of strength.”
“We have looked very carefully at Fortress’ approach, their plans for the business and their overall suitability as an owner of a unique British food-maker and shopkeeper with over 110,000 colleagues and an important role in British food production and farming.”
“It’s clear to us that Fortress has a full understanding and appreciation of the fundamental character of Morrisons.”
“This, together with the very clear intentions they have set out today, has given the Morrisons directors confidence that Fortress will support and accelerate our plans to develop and strengthen Morrisons further.”
Joshua A Pack, managing partner of Fortress, said: “We believe in making long-term investments focused on providing strong management teams with the necessary flexibility and support to execute their strategy in a sustainable and value-enhancing manner.”
“We fully recognise Morrisons’ rich history and the very important role Morrisons plays for colleagues, customers, members of the Morrisons pension schemes, local communities, partner suppliers and farmers.”
“We are committed to being good stewards of Morrisons to best serve its stakeholder groups, and the wider British public, for the long term.”
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