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Morrisons suitor reaches agreement with pension trustees

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Morrisons’ pension trustees have reached an agreement with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), the suitor targeting a £7 billion takeover of the UK supermarket chain.

The retailer agreed the offer from the US private equity firm last month but it could still be trumped by a rival firm.

A consortium led by Softbank-backed private equity firm Fortress Investment Group might yet take control of the firm as the retailer looks set to head for an auction.

On Tuesday, CD&R confirmed it has agreed a package to provide additional security and covenant support to the Morrisons pension fund.

Chairman of the trustees Steve Southern said: “We are pleased with the progress made and CD&R’s ability to provide the necessary support and reassurance to the schemes.

“CD&R has been proactive in its engagement with the trustees, with discussions progressing positively and decisively, delivering a positive outcome for all members of Morrisons’ pension schemes.”

Pension trustees had previously raised concerns that the proposed acquisition of Morrisons could “materially weaken” support for those covered by the schemes.

Former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy has served as a senior adviser to CD&R over the move and welcomed the news.

“We are delighted to have reached agreement with the trustees, providing additional security and covenant support to the schemes,” he said.

“We thank the trustees for their constructive engagement, and the positive outcome underscores CD&R’s approach as a responsible investor and emphasises the respectful approach CD&R would take to its wider stakeholder responsibilities and commitments.”

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