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November 5, 2020

Hovis ‘in advanced talks to sell to PE firm Endless’

Hovis is reportedly negotiating a deal with a private investor to acquire the bread maker, pushing Italy's Newlat down the pecking order.

By Dean Best

Endless, a UK-based private-equity firm, is reportedly in “advanced talks” with the owners of bread maker Hovis to acquire the business just as Italian food manufacturer Newlat requested exclusivity in the talks to stay in the running.

UK broadcaster Sky News, citing unnamed sources, have said Endless, headquartered in Leeds in northern England, is close to securing a deal for Hovis and it could be confirmed as soon as this week, although an agreement has not been finalised.

Hovis is majority-owned by another US private-equity investor The Gores Group. The UK-based food manufacturer Premier Foods holds a minority interest having sold most of its shares to Gores in 2014. 

Meanwhile, Newlat, which tabled an offer for Hovis in October, announced yesterday (4 November) it “does not intend to proceed further” in what it described as “a competitive tender” unless it is granted exclusivity in the talks. 

In response to Newlat’s request, issued via a stock-market filing, Premier Foods countered with its own statement to the London stock exchange yesterday.

“Premier Foods notes both the media speculation and a statement from Newlat Food S.p.A today, 4 November 2020, concerning its 49% interest in Hovis Holdings Limited,” the Batchelors soups owner said. “The group confirms a sale process for a potential transaction in respect of Hovis is ongoing. However, there can be no certainty that any transaction will conclude. The group will provide an update in due course as appropriate.”

Sky News said it had previously reported that a deal for Hovis could fetch around GBP100m (US$130.2m), based on the suspected price tag the owners are asking for. The broadcaster said Hovis and Endless declined to comment on the recent developments.

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