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Morrisons staff asked to invest thousands in their own company

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theguardian.com

Morrisons’ private equity owners have asked hundreds of staff – from store managers upwards – to invest thousands of pounds of their own money in the business.More than 800 people have been asked to invest in the ailing supermarket in the past few months, with one well-placed source saying middle management level departmental heads had been asked for £10,000 while the directors of departments had been asked for £25,000 each.

It is understood the minimum investmentrequired to participate was £2,000.The source said that, while contributions were voluntary, some staff were annoyed about feeling pressed to make a cash contribution to an ailing business at a time when the cost of living was soaring.“People are used to being paid bonuses rather than asked to invest,” the source said.However, it is understood that those who agreed to invest in shares in Morrisons were paid a special bonus, equivalent to 60% of the amount they were asked to invest before tax, with quite a number understood to have invested more.A spokesperson said: “The opportunity to invest in the future of Morrisons was incredibly popular throughout the business with over 800 colleagues, or more than 90% of those eligible, choosing to invest.”One expert said it was common to ask staff to invest as part of private equity deals, with the stakes seen as an incentive to help the business grow.While it is less usual to ask rank-and-file workers to participate, he said the wider-than-usual scope of the Morrisons scheme could be seen as a good thing, allowing more people to benefit from a potential return on their investment.The grocer, which was bought out by the US private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) in a deal worth about £7bn last year, last week

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