The private equity group Apollo has joined the battle to buy Morrisons after it said it was considering making an offer for the UK supermarket chain that could trump an existing £6.3bn bid for the supermarket by rival US investors.
Apollo became the third potential suitor to declare its interest in Morrisons, announcing to the stock exchange on Monday that it was “in the preliminary stages of evaluating a possible offer for Morrisons”.
The board of Morrisons accepted a £6.3bn offer from an American consortium led by US investment fund Fortress, the owner of Majestic Wine, over the weekend. The deal will still need to be put to shareholders, who could be swayed by more generous offers as the bidding war for Morrisons heats up.
Apollo said it not yet approached the Morrisons board about making a bid and did not reveal the value of its potential offer. “A further announcement will be made as appropriate,” the New York-based group said in a statement.
The supermarket, which operates 500 stores and employs about 118,000 staff in the UK, rebuffed a £5.5bn offer by buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&아르 자형) last month, saying it was “far too low”. CD&R has until 17 July to either make a higher offer or walk away.