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Fortress Says UK Has Not Opened An Inquiry Into Its Morrisons Bid

British money manager M&G has added to the voices criticising a proposed private equity takeover of British supermarket chain Morrisons, saying it does not reflect the true value of the company.

Morrisons this month agreed to a takeover led by SoftBank Group Corp-owned Fortress, which valued Britain's fourth-largest supermarket chain at about £6.3 billion ($8.8 billion) and topped a rival offer from Apollo.

Fortress Investment said Britain's competition regulator has not opened an inquiry nor indicated in writing that it was looking to do so in relation to the group's bid for supermarket group Morrisons.

It added that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had no further questions in relation to the offer following a briefing paper submitted by Fortress.

Rupert Krefting, head of corporate finance and stewardship at M&G, which owns a 1.08% stake in Morrisons, said in an emailed statement that Fortress's proposals could be achieved by the supermarket chain while remaining in public ownership.

'Successful Management Turnaround'

"The company has experienced a successful management turnaround over the past five years and has a strong balance sheet," Krefting said in the statement.

Earlier this week, Morrisons' largest shareholder Silchester said it was not inclined to support the offer, while top five shareholder Schroders said on Thursday it was still considering its position.

JO Hambro, which owns a 1.93% stake, has also said that the proposed price per share is too low, The Daily Telegraph reported earlier on Thursday.

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern Checkout. For more Retail stories click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition

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