UK poultry-to-fish company Boparan Holdings has extended the deadline for shareholders in takeover target Northern Foods to accept or reject its GBP342m (US$556.6m) bid for the business.

Boparan, owner of poultry supplier 2 Sisters Food Group and the Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip shop chain, has given Northern investors until 16 March to sell their shares.

The original deadline ended yesterday (2 March) and, in a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Boparan said over a third of Northern shareholders had now backed its offer.

Boparan’s offer has received the support of the Fox‘s biscuit maker’s board and scuppered the plans of Irish food maker Greencore to merge with Northern.

In November, Greencore and Northern announced plans to create Essenta Foods, a UK supplier with annual sales of GBP1.7bn.

Greencore has reportely been in talks with private-equity firms over a possible bid for Northern. One report in the UK two weeks ago said Greencore had teamed up with one buyout house to look at a possible deal.