REFILE-Morrisons founding family gauge buyout firms interest - report

Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:34am EST

(Adds dropped word 'not' to 6th paragraph)

LONDON Feb 12 (Reuters) - The founding family of Britain's No. 4 grocer, Wm Morrison Supermarkets, has contacted private-equity funds such as CVC Capital Partners and Carlyle Group to weigh their interest in taking the retailer private, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

It said the family, which holds about 9.5 percent of the supermarket, has so far been unable to find a buyout partner due to concerns about Morrisons' slow sales growth and the size of the deal.

Bloomberg cited the sources as saying the family has also approached other private-equity funds including Apax Partners . It said Apax had decided not to pursue a deal.

It said a buyout of Morrisons would exceed 7 billion pounds ($11.5 billion) and require a group of funds to work together.

Morrisons and CVC declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. Apax and Carlyle were not immediately available for comment.

Morrisons' founding family could not be immediately reached.

Shares in Morrisons were up 2.8 percent in early trade to 244 pence. ($1 = 0.6067 British pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Neil Maidment)