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September 7, 2015

McCain Foods, Nomad Foods ‘eye moves for Quorn’

McCain Foods and Nomad Foods are reportedly to be mulling a move for UK-based meat-free business Quorn Foods.

By Beth Wright

McCain Foods and Nomad Foods are reportedly to be mulling a move for UK-based meat-free business Quorn Foods.

According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph, Quorn has been put up for sale by its private-equity owner Exponent. More detail on the business is expected to be sent out to potential suitors next week, the newspaper said.

When contacted by just-food today, a spokesperson for McCain said:  "We are aware of the media article. However it is our policy not to comment on such matters."

Nomad, the owner of Birds Eye in Europe, declined to comment on what it described as "speculation". (7 September). Officials at Quorn could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

On Saturday, Sky News reported Exponent would start an auction for Quorn this week. Exponent acquired Quorn from Premier Foods plc in 2011.

The reports follow Sky News' claim in March WhiteWave Foods had held preliminary talks with Exponent over Quorn. At the time, Quorn CEO Kevin Brennan told just-food Exponent had hired Houlihan Lokey to advise when the private-equity firm could sell the business but he insisted there was no auction in place.

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"There isn't any sales process. Exponent has not discussed with anyone at this stage but they are a private-equity company that will one day sell the business. What they did do is hire Houlihan Lokey as an adviser because they need to look at how and when they sell," Brennan said. "We obviously are a business that will ultimately get sold; that's the nature of private-equity ownership. I stay focused on growing the business, work the strategy out and later in the year they will tell me what the best way to do it is and when," Brennan told just-food.

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