A sale of Quorn Foods, the UK-based meat-free business, is expected by the end of the year with potential suitors receiving information memoranda this week.
Quorn's owner, the private-equity firm Exponent, has hired Houlihan Lokey to run an auction for a company it bought in 2011 from Premier Foods plc for GBP205m (US$314.5m).
Companies including McCain Foods, frozen food group Nomad Foods and Alpro owner WhiteWave Foods have all expressed tentative interest in the business, just-food understands. Quorn has also received interest from a number of private-equity firms.
A report in The Sunday Telegraph last weekend named McCain and Nomad among companies eyeing Quorn. On Saturday, Sky News reported Exponent would start an auction for Quorn this week.
The reports followed Sky News' claim in March WhiteWave had held preliminary talks with Exponent over Quorn.
When contacted by just-food yesterday, Quorn declined to comment.
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".
Officials at WhiteWave could not be reached for immediate comment.