Kwarteng asks to meet Morrisons on US takeover bid

The Fortress deal was backed by Morrisons’ board of directors but must be approved by 75% of shareholders as well as competition regulators.

New York-based Fortress, which manages $ 53 billion in assets, has pledged not to embark on any “major” sale-leaseback exercise of Morrisons stores or warehouses.

Managing partner Josh Pack sent a letter to Mr Kwarteng and Environment Secretary George Eustice on Saturday.

He told them that Fortress was “extremely aware of the broader responsibilities that accompany owning a business with the history, culture and importance of Morrisons to the British public, and I want to reassure you that we fully the intention to be a supportive and responsible owner. of Morrisons, if we complete the transaction successfully ”.

Mr Pack said Fortress will commit to continuing to operate Morrisons as a stand-alone business with its head office in Bradford, as well as protecting pensions and maintaining a minimum wage of £ 10 an hour.

A Morrisons takeover would make the supermarket private for the first time since 1967.

It would come on top of a wave of private equity buyouts in Britain and would be the second supermarket chain to be sold last year after billionaire brothers Issa stung on Asda for £ 6.8bn.

A government spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to keeping the UK open for business, while protecting the livelihoods of UK workers and investment in the UK.

“The government recognizes that foreign investors play a major and positive role in stimulating economic growth in all parts of the UK. In most cases, it is fair that mergers are treated as a business matter for the parties involved.

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