Private-equity battle shapes up for number-four U.K. supermarket chain

A private-equity battle for a U.K. supermarket chain highlighted an otherwise quiet day in European stocks on Monday, with the key U.S. market shut for a holiday.

Wm Morrison Supermarkets

rose 11% to 267 pence after Apollo Global Management said it was considering a counterbid for the U.K. chain, following an agreed £6.3 billion ($8.7 billion), or 254 pence per share, bid from a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group. Clayton, Dubilier & Rice previously made an offer for the country’s number-four supermarket chain.

Rival U.K. food retailers including Marks & Spencer

and J Sainsbury

also rose.

Électricité de France

shares slumped, after France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said it would be difficult for the country to agree to the European Commission’s requests on a reorganization of the power generator.

Broader markets drifted lower with U.S. markets closed for the Independence Day holiday. The Stoxx Europe 600

slipped 0.2%. U.S. stock futures

which are trading electronically, also edged lower.

The S&P 500

ended nearly 2% higher last week, and settled at a record high for the 36th time of the year following news that the U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs but the unemployment rate ticked higher.

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