Morrisons

Fortress, the American investment company left empty-handed after losing the weekend auction of Morrisons, has delivered an unambiguous signal of intent that it is looking for other British acquisitions, boosting shares in Sainsbury’s and Tesco amid speculation that they could be the next targets for buyout firms (The Times £).

Shares in Sainsbury’s were on the charge amid speculation that private equity sharks are still scouring the UK for deals, The Mail writes.

Tesco braces for bids in private equity’s supermarket sweep, according to The Telegraph. ”As Morrisons and Asda fall into private buyers’ hands, the UK’s biggest grocer is fighting to avoid being added to their shopping basket,” the paper writes.

Regulators are poring over the proposed £7bn takeover of Morrisons by a US private equity giant over concerns about the number of petrol stations the group would own (The Mail).

The Lex column in The Financial Times (£) warns an asset sale will be needed at Morrisons to cover the high price paid by CD&R. “Private equity firm will have to be clever to achieve a decent investment return,” the paper says.

The Telegraph is scathing about the deal in its City column. “A bleak future awaits Morrisons in the hands of private equity financiers,” reads the headline. “With their eyes fixed firmly on a shared £39m payday, senior management have abandoned the company to its fate.”

The Guardian says in a business editorial that Morrisons’ new owner has plenty of wiggle room in takeover terms. “CD&R has made fine-sounding pledges but they don’t stop this being yet another debt-fuelled buyout.”

The Mail’s Alex Brummer thunders that there needs to be a hard look at how the debt-fuelled PE takeover of Morrisons will hit UK tax revenues.

The chairman of Morrisons has said he expects the US private equity firm in line to buy the supermarket chain for £7.1bn to stick to its word and keep hold of the retailer’s assets rather than sell them off (The Guardian).

Andy Higginsons has insisted Morrisons will be able to deliver a “good” Christmas for customers despite supply chain issues (BBC News).

There could be fewer choices available for Christmas dinner this year due to labour shortages following Brexit, the boss of the British Meat Processors Association has warned (Sky News).

The UK fuel crisis could run another week, fuel retailers have warned, as military tanker drivers took to the roads to relieve pressure on petrol stations (The Guardian).

Only 27 fuel tanker drivers from the EU have applied to work in Britain under the government’s emergency scheme to tackle the petrol crisis, ministers have been told (The Times £).

Overseas interest in UK truck-driving jobs is keenest in countries whose drivers’ qualifications are not recognised in Britain, according to figures that reinforce doubts over the practicality of the government’s plan to tackle the country’s supply chain crisis by issuing short-term visas (The Financial Times £).

Caffe Nero has hired advisers from Lazard as it seeks to refinance debts of almost £150m and keep the billionaire Issa brothers at bay (The Telegraph).

A global shortage of peas caused by a drought in Canada is posing challenges for makers of plant-based burgers who rely on the crop as a source of protein in their artificial meat (The Times £).

The Hut Group has now lost a quarter of its stock market value in less than a fortnight after investors sent shares in the ecommerce business sliding for an eighth straight trading session (The Times £).

The Times (£) follows up The Grocer’s story from the weekend about the latest Samworth Brothers accounts. The family-owned manufacturer of Ginsters pasties and Soreen malt loaf tumbled into the red to the tune of more than £30 million on the back of “an incredibly challenging year”.

Shares in Cake Box shot up by more than 12% after it revealed sales soared over the last six months thanks to strong online demand and new store openings (The Mail).

Compass Group surprised investors this morning by announcing the unexpected departure of its finance chief after only two and a half years in the role (The Times £).

Topics