Among the disgruntled shareholders was Rupert Krefting, head of corporate finance and stewardship at M&G, which manages £ 370bn and owns just over 1% of the company’s shares. He said the Fortress offer did not represent Morrisons’ “true value”.
Fortress Group upped their bid, then Clayton, Dubilier & Rice returned with an even higher bid of £ 7bn, 63% above Morrisons market value before their first rejected bid two months ago .
“We are heading in the right direction,” Krefting said after the latest offer. Shareholders are expected to vote on the deal in October.
If a Morrisons deal is approved, it will only be the latest in a UK trend. At the end of last year, lawmakers commissioned a report on the declining number of state-owned enterprises. In 2019, 2,026 were listed in Britain, up from a peak of 2,913 in 2006, according to the report, written by Gbenga Ibikunle, professor at the University of Edinburgh Business School. While the decline is not as steep as in the United States, private equity has played a critical role, Ibikunle said.
Investors “are asking for significant returns, and what we are seeing, perhaps because of the cultural fit between the UK and the US, is that a lot of the money in the states EP -Unis finds homes in UK, ”Mr Ibikunle said.
The UK government has tried to increase registrations in London, in particular to attract tech companies. The proposals include allowing companies with dual-class share structures – which may give founders greater control – in the premium section of the stock market so that they can be included in benchmarks. There has been some success: Companies listed this year include the food delivery company Deliveroo; Darktrace, an artificial intelligence company; and Trustpilot, a consumer review site.
Still, the boom in private takeovers has put public equity investors on their toes about the next venture.