A group of shareholders in wholesale distributor Londis is considering backing a possible hostile bid by the UK’s Big Food Group, even though the Londis board has recommended a £60m (US$106.2m) takeover offer from Ireland’s Musgrave.

“We could go hostile with BFG – it scores more highly than Musgrave under our criteria [for a partner or buyer],” Adrian Costain, deputy chairman of the Londis Shareholders Action Group (LSAG), was quoted by the Financial Times as saying.

“Although a hostile bid situation could be very damaging to Londis and the independent convenience sector, the prospect cannot be entirely discounted. But we would rather just vote down the Musgrave proposal and then move the business in the direction we wanted to go,” Costain added.

LSAG said it had been surprised to learn that BFG had previously proposed to the Londis board either an outright takeover bid or an alternative whereby BFG would take a minority stake in Londis and keep the group’s mutual status, a move which would be welcomed by many Londis shareholders, the Financial Times said.