Morrisons Shares Spike On Buyout Rumour
Shares in supermarket chain Morrisons have spiked more than 5% on rumours the founding family is preparing to take the firm private.
According to Bloomberg, private equity firms including CVC Capital Partners and the Carlyle Group have been approached to gauge their interest in a buyout, which would be valued at more than £7bn.
Approached by Sky News, a Morrisons spokesperson declined to comment.
The family owns just under 10% of the company's stock.
The shares in Britain's number four supermarket group eased slightly after the initial surge.
Here is the latest share price for Morrisons.
The buzz has also boosted stock for the sector's leader, Tesco, and third largest group, Sainsbury's.
A report on Tuesday by market monitor Kantar Worldpanel said till receipts for Morrisons dropped 2.5% in the three months to February 2.
It said the sales drop, excluding fuel, was the biggest out of all the UK's main chains.
The report said the family had so far been unable to find a buyout partner because of the flagging sales.
In January, shares in Morrisons slumped after a shock 5.6% sales tumble over the crucial Christmas trading period.
The supermarket - which is yet to break into the online grocery market - admitted the Christmas period had been "very challenging".
Chief executive Dalton Philips added: "In a very tough market our sales performance over Christmas was disappointing."
Morrisons has been a late entrant into the online and metro convenience store sectors, both of which have proved important to key competitors.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.