Findus owner Lion Capital has reportedly teamed up with two US hedge funds – HighBridge and JP Morgan – to propose a GBP150m (US$232.8m) cash injection that would prevent senior lenders, from taking over the business, the Sunday Times reported yesterday (10 June). This is an increase on its initial offer of GBP125m made in March.
However, European buy-out fund Triton is understood to have tabled a counter-bid of GBP240m to Lion’s cash injection that would see it take control of Findus, the publication noted.
Findus, which owns the UK seafood business Young’s Seafood, has been forced into restructuring negotiations with its banks after its debts have piled up. The company was bought by Lion in 2008 in a GBP1.1bn deal backed by around GBP700m of loans, but earlier this year the company had to ask its lenders to waive a fourth-quarter covenant on the GBP700m debt.
Lion is reportedly keen to hold on to Findus and has bought up a sizeable chunk of the company’s junior debt in order to strengthen its hand in discussions.
In a statement today, Findus did not comment on the reported bid by Tritan and said it is “exploring” and “continues to be in dialogue” with its lending group about restructuring its capital structure and is “confident” a successful outcome will be achieved.
“Both restructuring proposals tabled will significantly enhance our capability for development and ability to further grow our businesses. Findus Group is trading well with the year to date ahead of plan.”
Findus generates an annual turnover of GBP1.1bn and employs around 6,000 staff.
Triton did not return comment at the time of going to press.