The multi-billion-pound offer made by Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) has been passed by the supermarket’s shareholders following months of negotiations.

The private equity firm outbid Fortress Investment Group, ending an auction for the supermarket chain earlier this month. Fortress initially offered 286p per Morrisons ordinary share, while CD&R offered 287p – which amounts to an offer of roughly £7 billion.

Andrew Higginson, chairman of Morrisons, thanked shareholders for the strong support received. He said: “We remain confident that CD&R will be a responsible, thoughtful and careful owner of Morrisons and we will now move forward with the remaining steps in the acquisition process.”

Sir Terry Leahy, former chairman of Tesco, was involved in CD&R’s winning bid. Commenting on the announcement, Leahy said: “We are very pleased to have received the approval of shareholders and are excited at the opportunity that lies ahead.”

He continued: “The particular heritage, culture and operating model of Morrisons are key features of the company and we will be very mindful of these during our tenure as owners.

“We very much look forward to working with the Morrisons team, not just to preserve the company’s many strengths but to build on these, with innovation, capital and new technology – helping the business realise its full potential and delivering for all of its stakeholders.”