Convenience foods group, Prize Food, is examining the sale of the business after it appointed an investment bank to seek potential suitors.

Prize has appointed UBS Warburg to sound out the market for bidders, either among the trade or financial buyers. Private equity firms, 3i and Bridgepoint are said to be interested in the firm that was formed in 1997 through a management buy-out from Booker. Bridgepoint, which backed the original buy-out from Booker, is the likely favourite in a deal which would value Prize Food at £100m (US$142.5m). Prize held talks last year with Golden Vale over a possible reverse takeover by the Irish dairy group, but the plan was abandoned in November.

Prize is a large private label supplier to the leading supermarket groups and has five divisions, making frozen meals, chilled ready meals, sandwiches, meat pies and sausages, and potato products. The group made an operating profit of £12.8m in 1999, while pre-tax profits were £8.44m.