Maple Leaf is said to have appointed Royal Bank of Canada and Centerview Partners to handle the auction

Maple Leaf is said to have appointed Royal Bank of Canada and Centerview Partners to handle the auction

Maple Leaf Foods is reported to have approached a number of firms, including Mexico's Grupo Bimbo, over the purchase of its controlling stake in Canada Bread.

The Canadian food group is said to have appointed Royal Bank of Canada and Centerview Partners to handle the auction of its 90% ownership interest in Canada Bread Co, according to Reuters. The two banks have reportedly made initial contact with prospective buyers before sending out detailed financial information, sources told the publication.

Bimbo and private-equity firms KKR & Co and Apollo Global Management are said to have been approached over the sale, although no official offer is understood to have yet been made by any.

On Monday, the company said it was "exploring strategic alternatives" for its bakery business, including a potential sale of its 90% ownership interest in Canada Bread.

In the event of a sale, the company said it would consider using the cash to pay down debt, reinvest in the business and return capital to shareholders.

KKR declined to comment on the reports. Maple Leaf, Canada Bread, and Apollo did not return a request for comment at the time of going to press.