Morrisons, one of the biggest supermarket chains in the United Kingdom, has approved a multibillion-pound takeover from SoftBank’s Fortress Investment Group.
Morrisons – which was valued at £6.3 billion (or £9.5 billion including debts) during the takeover – is the fourth- largest supermarket chain in the UK behind Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Asda, and it has hundreds of stores.
Calling the takeover a “fair and recommendable price for shareholders,” Morrisons Chairman Andrew Higginson said in a statement that Fortress Investment Group “has a full understanding and appreciation of the fundamental character of Morrisons” and has given directors of the supermarket chain “confidence that Fortress will support and accelerate our plans to develop and strengthen Morrisons further.”
Fortress Managing Partner Joshua A. Pack also claimed in a statement that the company fully recognized “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.”
He further added that Fortress was “committed to being good stewards of Morrisons to best serve its stakeholder groups, and the wider British public, for the long term.”
In 2019, Fortress – which is headquartered in New York City – purchased Majestic Wine, one of the UK’s biggest dedicated wine retailers, for £95 million.
Earlier this year, Asda, the UK’s third-biggest supermarket chain, was acquired by EG Group – a company owned by the billionaire Issa brothers, Zuber and Mohsin, and the British private equity company TDR Capital. Asda was acquired from the US supermarket chain Walmart, which had purchased Asda in 1999. The American company maintains “an equity investment in the business,” an “ongoing commercial relationship,” and “a seat on the Board” despite the recent acquisition.
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