Private equity groups who have put United Biscuits on the block may suspend the company’s sale indefinitely following the withdrawal of Premier Foods from the auction, the UK press has reported.

The exit of Premier from the race to acquire the UK snack manufacturer has left the way clear for a bid lead by Blackstone. However, it has widely been reported that the owners are reluctant to sell at less that the GBP1.7bn price hoped for.

Civen, MidOcean and PIA, the private equity firms who obtained UB in 2000, are thought to be considering the possibility of delaying the sale until next year or floating the company on the stock market.

UB’s private equity owners were unavailable for comment at time of press.