Tesco Old Boys Square Up in U.S. Bid for Morrisons

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U.S. private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier Rices CDR pursuit of British supermarket group Morrisons has set up an intriguing clash of former Tesco colleagues.

Morrisons, Britains fourthlargest supermarket chain by sales behind market leader Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda, on Saturday rejected a proposed 5.5 billion pound 7.6 billion cash offer from CDR.

The offer was described by Morrisons as far too low, but British takeover rules give CDR until July 17 to come back with a firm offer.

CDR is being advised by Terry Leahy, the man who transformed Tesco into Britains dominant supermarket group and the worlds thirdlargest retailer as chief executive for 14 years to 2011.

The private equity firms offer pits him against Morrisons chairman Andrew Higginson and CEO David Potts, two of Leahys closest lieutenants at Tesco.

Higginson spent 15 years on Tescos main board, first as finance and strategy director and later as CEO of the companys retailing services business before leaving in 2012.

Potts joined Tesco as a 16yearold shelfstacker before working his way up to become CEO of Tescos Irish business, its UK retail stores business and then CEO of Tesco Asia.

He left in 2011 after being passed over for Leahys job.

That job went to Philip Clarke, who was sacked in 2014, shortly before an accounting scandal plunged Tesco into its biggest crisis, raising questions over Leahys legacy and tarnishing his reputation.

Potts and Higginson are not the only Tesco alumni to have ended up…

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