Nutritional food and drinks maker Nutrinnovator is at an advanced stage of negotiations to buy functional food company, Provexis Limited.

The two had already announced a joint venture to commercialise the heart-health CardioFlow functional food technology, which Provexis has developed over the last four years, the company said in a statement. It put the market for ‘heart healthy’ products at £2.2 billion (US$4.17 billion) worldwide. “In recent discussions, the Boards of both businesses have reached the conclusion that their complementary capabilities present an opportunity to develop a substantial business operating in global functional food markets,” it said. “The combined strategy will be based on scientifically-proven functional food products, underpinned by strong intellectual property positions, and delivered to market with a proven innovation capability.”

“The size of this proposed transaction is such that it will be defined as a reverse takeover,” it said. It will involve raising up to £10 million for the enlarged group. “The expectation is that the proposed transaction, fundraising and associated documentation will be agreed and announced on or around 24 March 2005.”

“The Board of Nutrinnovator regards this opportunity as a very exciting development for the business,” it said. “t will provide Nutrinnovator with the resources with which to commercialise the product pipeline established by both companies on a global basis, as well as combining the complementary skills of the respective management teams.”