New Zealand’s Manuka Health is reportedly on the radar of Chinese firms for a possible buyout.

The Auckland-based company, owned by private-equity firm Pacific Equity Partners, has been approached by another PE fund, CDH Investments of Beijing, according to an unnamed source cited by The Australian Financial Review newspaper. 

Meanwhile, Reuters said two Chinese firms are in the bidding, although sources declined to provide names. 

The Australian Financial Review reported indicative offers for the business were lodged last Thursday (26 July), and included submissions from a range of Chinese bidders. The newspaper added CDH also owns New Zealand vitamins brand Go Healthy.  

Pacific Equity Partners reportedly hired Luminis Partners to prepare a sale of Manuka Health in March after acquiring the business in 2015, according to the paper.

Founded in 2006 and now run by chief executive John Kippenberger, the Auckland firm makes Manuka honey, Propolis (a substance derived from honey bees), Royal Jelly and New Zealand Gourmet honey. It also has a plant in Te Awamutu.

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Reuters reported today (30 July) second-round bids are due in six weeks. The Australian newspaper has put the value of the deal at around AUD200m (US$148m), almost twice the price Pacific Equity Partners paid for Manuka Health. 

Manuka Health could not be reached for comment outside of business hours, while Pacific Equity Partners had not yet responded to questions from just-food as the time of writing.