- Ministers are likely to press for crunch meeting over Morrisons’ potential acquisition by private equity firm Fortress
- Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will request talks with Morrisons chair Andy Higginson
- He is expected to seek assurances over jobs, pensions and Morrisons’ UK operations
By guest author Sahar Nazir from Retail Gazette
Ministers are reportedly expected to call for a crunch meeting with Morrisons’ senior leadership to seek assurances over its potential acquisition by US private equity firm Fortress.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will request talks with Morrisons chair Andy Higginson in the coming weeks.
Kwarteng is expected to seek assurances over jobs, pensions and Morrisons’ UK operations, Financial Times reported.
It comes after the Morrisons board agreed a 254 pence per share offer from Fortress last week, valuting the grocer at GBP 6.3 billion.
Fortress, which is owned by SoftBank, has said it will protect Morrisons workers, suppliers and pensioners if the takeover is confirmed.
It also pledged that there would be no “material” sale and leaseback programmes on its freehold store estate.
However, Kwarteng said he was “monitoring the situation” and was “very interested in seeing how the situation develops”.
Fortress managing partner Josh Pack sent a letter to Kwarteng and environment secretary George Eustace when the deal was agreed.
Fortress’ offer has been recommended by the Morrisons board, but it must be approved by 75 per cent of its shareholders, and competition authorities, in order to go ahead.