Amid speculation that it is planning a GBP1bn bid for United Biscuits, Premier Foods has told just-food today (17 July) that it is yet to make serious progress on any acquisition deal.

In May, the company said that it was eyeing a number of possible acquisition targets, including United Biscuits and certain units of the Campbell Soup Company. With Premier closing a deal for Campbell’s UK and Irish businesses and Kraft taking on UB’s operations on the Iberian peninsular last week, speculation has increased that Premier is nearing completion of a deal that would see it acquire UB’s remaining brands.

The bid, reports have suggested, would see Premier take control of brands such as Penguin biscuits, Jaffa Cakes and KP nuts. Private equity firms that Premier is working with to secure the acquisition are also expected to take on a number of brands. Lion Capital, it has been reported, would acquire Hula Hoops and McCoy’s while Dutch private equity firm NPM Capital would buy United’s units in Northern Europe.

However Premier told just-food: “We are no further down the track [towards a UB acquisition] at this stage. There is no definite movement towards the completion of an acquisition. The stories circulating are speculation based on the original declaration of interest.”