Marks & Spencer Gains on Report of Apollo Takeover Interest
Marks & Spencer Gains on Report of Apollo Interest in Grocer
Marks & Spencer Group Plc rose after a report that Apollo Global Management Inc. has been considering a bid for the U.K. retailer.
The private equity firm began assessing the company after concluding it was undervalued due to the pandemic, the Sunday Times reported, citing unidentified sources. It’s unclear whether a recent rally in M&S shares has damped Apollo’s interest, the newspaper added.
The stock rose as much as 3.6% in London trading, after climbing 31% in the month through Friday. The company raised its profit forecast for a second time on Nov. 10, raising hopes for a long-awaited recovery.
The interest would be the latest sign that U.K. retailers remain in the cross-hairs of buyout funds after deals for Asda and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc. Apollo, which has more than $80 billion in equity assets under management, had shown interest in both those deals, only to lose out to other bidders.
Apollo and M&S declined to comment. The Sunday Times said in August that Apollo was said to be “running the rule” over J Sainsbury Plc, Britain’s second-largest grocer.
Britain’s supermarkets have attracted buyout interest as the economics of the industry have dramatically improved since the onset of the pandemic, which elevated sales and accelerated changes in shopping habits. Supermarkets generate substantial cash and have large property portfolios. The rise in online shopping has made e-commerce more profitable.
Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC bought Wm Morrison for 7 billion pounds ($9.4 billion) in October, beating out Fortress Investment Group. In 2020, TDR Capital and the Issa brothers agreed to buy the country’s third-largest grocer, Asda Group Ltd., in a 6.8 billion-pound deal.
M&S’s 50% stake in the retail business of Ocado Group Plc increases its appeal to Apollo, the Sunday Times reported.
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