Timeline: The battle for British supermarket group Morrisons

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Oct 1 (Businesshala) – Morrisons (MRW.L), Britain’s fourth largest supermarket conglomerate, is the subject of the country’s most high-profile takeover battle with bids and counter bids reflecting an appetite for private equity for UK plc.

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Here is a timeline of events so far:

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June 19

Morrison declined a proposed 5.52 billion pounds ($7.43 billion) cash offer from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

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30 June

Morrison investor Joe Hambro says CD&R should increase its offering to around £6.5 billion.

July 3

Morrison has agreed to a £6.3 billion offer from a consortium led by SoftBank-owned Fortress Investment Group (9984.T).

July 5

A third private equity group, Apollo Global Management, says it is evaluating a potential offering for Morrison.

July 20

Apollo says it will not bid for Morrison on its own but may join the Fortress consortium.

22 July

The planning document outlining Fortress’ proposal is published and Morrison’s shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposal on August 16. The UK Takeover Panel gives CD&R until 9 August to announce a firm intention to make an offer or walk away.

July 27

Silchester, Morrison’s largest shareholder, says it is unwilling to support Fortress’ offer.

28 July

Singapore’s GIC Sovereign Wealth Fund joins the Fortress-led consortium.

29 July

Morrison’s investor M&G (MN.L) says the Fortress offer does not reflect the group’s value.

August 6

Morrison agrees to an improved £6.7 billion proposal from the Fortress Consortium and adjourns a shareholder meeting to vote on the proposal until August 27.

August 9

The takeover panel has extended CD&R’s “put-up or shut-up” deadline to August 20.

August 19

Morrison agrees to a £7.0bn offer from CD&R and drops the recommendation of Fortress. Fort says it is “considering its options”. Morrison says the shareholder meeting on August 27 will be held around the week starting October 4.

August 23

Morrison’s shareholders Legal & General say they believe the supermarket conglomerate’s true value should be realized after CD&R’s sweet bid is now focusing more on its asset assets.

August 24

Morrison’s pension plans warned of a takeover by CD&R or Fortress that could “materially weaken” the plans’ security if no additional protections are agreed upon.

August 27

Morrison says the planning document for the CD&R offering will be published on or around September 11. It said the shareholder meeting to vote on the CD&R proposal would take place on or around October 5.

September 8

Morrison says he is in talks with CD&R, Fortress and the takeover panel about the auction process. It says the planning document for CD&R’s proposal will be published around September 25, with a shareholder meeting to be held around October 18.

September 14

CD&R collaborates with pension trustees to provide additional protection and support.

September 25

Published planning document for CD&R’s proposal. The shareholders’ meeting is scheduled for October 19.

September 29

The takeover panel says the auction will take place on October 2.

($1 = 0.7427 pounds)

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan

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