UK private-equity group Equistone is understood to have put Whitworths, the country’s largest supplier of dried fruit, nut and seed products, up for sale. 

According to a source familiar with the matter, Equistone has appointed M&A and capital markets advisory group Houlihan Lokey to oversee the process.

Representatives for Equistone declined to comment. However, Whitworths confirmed it is “currently in a process with Houlihan Lokey” that is “exploring new investment opportunities”. 

In a statement, the company said: “This investment will support our ambitious plans for growth. We are actively looking to expand our geographical reach and continue to introduce fresh innovation into the market.

“We expect this process to continue to develop over the coming months and are not in a position to provide any further information at this stage.”

Equistone purchased a majority stake in Whitworths in 2013 from European Capital in a transaction valuing the business at GBP90m (US$115.3m)