Prospective takeover talks between Inter Link Foods and suitor McCambridge, the Irish food group, have stalled over a confidentiality agreement, just-food understands.

McCambridge, which in recent weeks has built almost a 9% stake in Inter Link, has yet to sign a non-disclosure agreement, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Such an agreement is often signed by parties set for takeover talks to protect financial information on the takeover target being made public and is made before due diligence can begin. The need for the agreement is all the more pertinent given the competitive relationship between McCambridge and Inter Link.

The source said Inter Link is "very open" on the prospect of talks, provided McCambridge signs the confidentially agreement.

Inter Link has received a number of approaches but the source said the company is only willing to entertain offers for all of the business.

Last week, Inter Link chairman Jeremy Hamer told just-food that trade and private equity groups had declared an interest in the company. The company is also considering an equity fundraising. When contacted by just-food today (21 May), however, Hamer declined to comment.

Inter Link has said it would cut GBP2m (US$3.9m) in costs from the business and has identified more savings under a review headed by recently installed chief executive Ian Croxford, Hamer said.

Some 120 jobs have already been lost at Inter Link, which operates from 12 bakery sites in the UK, and another bakery in Poland, and more could follow, Hamer warned last week.

Inter Link, which makes Soreen malt loaves and private-label cakes for supermarkets, has seen sales hit as consumers switch to more premium products, as well as those making health claims.

McCambridge officials could not be reached for comment as just-food went to press.