The Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC saga is set to come to an end as the takeover panel has scheduled an auction process for Saturday 2 October.
In the first round, suitors CD&R and Fortress can up their bids; if no increased bid is made then, there will be up to three further rounds, in which an offeror can make one only if the other offer has made an increased bid in the immediately preceding round.
If the auction procedure has not concluded after these three further, there will be a fifth and final round.
The process could also be ditched if CD&R and Fortress aren’t willing to increase their offers.
Investors may finally find out who’ll be Morrisons’ new owner this very week, months after CD&R first approached the grocer in June with a GBP5.5bn offer that was immediately rejected.
Fortress offered GBP6.3bn in July, upped to GBP6.7bn after shareholders complained it was undervaluing the FTSE 100 group.
CD&R came back with a GBP7bn offer in August, which the Morrisons board decided to back after telling investors to ignore the Fortress one. Shareholders are due to vote on it on 19 October.
Shares rose 1% to 296.1p on Wednesday at noon.