$10 Billion U.S. Battle for Britain's Morrisons Heads for Auction

The $10 billion takeover battle for British supermarket group Morrisons between two U.S. private equity groups looks set to be decided by a rarely used auction process, Reuters reported. Morrisons said on Wednesday that it was in talks with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), Fortress Investment Group and Britain's takeover regulator about an auction to settle its future. Last month, Morrisons agreed a 7 billion pound ($9.6 billion) offer from CD&R, which has former Tesco boss Terry Leahy as a senior adviser. However, the rival consortium led by Softbank-owned Fortress could still trump that bid. The fight for Britain's fourth-largest grocer after Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda, is the most high-profile looming takeover amid a raft of bids and counter bids, reflecting private equity's appetite for UK Plc. Morrisons said that as neither bidder had declared its offer final, it was talking to both of them and the Takeover Panel, which governs M&A deals in the UK, about "an orderly framework for the resolution of this competitive situation" - which would typically be an auction. Read more.