The BBC reports that US buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice will promise not to sell off large chunks of Morrisons’ property empire when it tables an improved cash offer for the supermarket later this week.
Morrisons’ board is currently recommending shareholders accept a bid from another consortium led by US-based and Japanese-owned Fortress Group.
Morrisons, the UK’s number four grocer, owns 86 per cent of its store freeholds.
Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s own just over 50 per cent of theirs.
The Fortress consortium includes the property arm of the biggest private company in the US, Koch Industries, which led many to suspect that large-scale property sales would be part of the plan.
However, in its offer document, Fortress said it “does not anticipate engaging in any material store sale and leaseback transactions”.
A person close to the deal said Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) could be expected to make “similar commitments” if and when it improves on the latest Fortress bid of £6.7 billion before a deadline this Friday.
Exactly what “material” means to either bidder is unclear.