Sector News

Boparan receives £350m bid for Fox's biscuits

January 23, 2017
Food & Drink

Food tycoon Ranjit Boparan, known as the “Chicken King” due to his 2Sisters poultry business, has received an approach for Party-Ring maker Fox’s Biscuits from a mystery bidder.

Mr Boparan owns Fox’s Biscuits following the 2011 £300m takeover of Northern Foods, which also handed him control of Goodfella’s frozen pizzas.

His company, Boparan Holdings, disclosed that it had received a “preliminary approach for Fox’s Biscuits, the trading name of Northern Foods” without revealing the bidder’s identity.

Sources believe that it is the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Fund, the owner of Burton’s Biscuits, as the two firms were in discussions last year about a deal.

“The group’s expectation is that any formal offer for Fox’s Biscuits would be at a valuation in the region of £350m,” the company said in a statement to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, where debt is listed.

A deal between Burton’s and Fox’s has long been rumoured due to an obvious potential to generate significant synergies, however talks ran aground last year with sources blaming Mr Boparan’s excessive price expectations. At the time, bankers believed the business was worth £250m.

In 2015 the tycoon’s investment company, Boparan Holdings, revealed sales in its biscuits division had slipped 12pc to £22.7m.

As well as owning Harry Ramsden’s chip shop chain and buying Giraffe restaurants from Tesco, Mr Boparan last year agreed a rescue takeover of turkey giant Bernard Matthews.

Last week, the UK’s competition watchdog cleared the deal.

Mr Boparan’s private office bought Bernard Matthews in a pre-pack administration deal last September, which saw its assets transferred but not its liabilities, leaving hundreds of trade creditors £23m out of pocket.

The takeover has already been the target of scrutiny by MPs amid criticism that Bernard Matthews’ former owners, private equity firm Rutland Partners, had dumped the pension scheme in order to recoup millions of pounds for itself through the sale

By Ashley Armstrong

Source: Telegraph

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