Morrisons’ rival bidders Fortress and CD&R are set to go to auction to secure a final offer for the supermarket ahead of a shareholder vote on a takeover deal in October.

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Morrisons has engaged with competition regulators to arrange an auction between the two US private equity firms ahead of a shareholder vote on the final takeover offer in or around the week beginning October 18.

The supermarket giant said the auction will consider the financial terms of both Fortress and CD&R’s respective offers, as well as “the wider responsibilities of ownership of Morrisons” including “a recognition of the importance to the Morrisons business of all stakeholders” and “the distinct heritage and history” of the chain.

Morrisons said that it “anticipates proceeding with either the Fortress Meetings or the CD&R meetings depending on which offer it is recommending to Morrisons shareholders” following completion of the auction.

CD&R is currently the preferred bidder for Morrisons, having had its £7bn bid approved by Morrisons’ board in August. But rival bidder and former frontrunner Fortress is understood to be preparing a fresh bid for the business

Morrisons said that an auction process, the date of which is yet to be confirmed, would provide “an orderly framework for the resolution of this competitive situation”.