Boparan Holdings boss Ranjit Boparan, who revealed he was considering making an offer for Northern Foods on December 22, has been told by the UK takeover panel to show his hand or withdraw by 5pm on January 21 (ahead of shareholder meetings at Northern and Greencore on January 31).
Should Boparan – which owns chicken processer 2 Sisters Food Group, fish and chip shop chain Harry Ramsden’s, fish supplier Five Star Fish and restaurant chain Fishworks – decide not to make an approach by January 21, it will be unable to make a fresh offer for six months.
City: Boparan must stump up cash and premium offer
Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said that if Boparan were to make an offer, he would need to stump up at least 75p a share: "It needs to be in cash and at a further significant premium to the present Northern Foods’ share price of 62p".
The board at Northern Foods meanwhile is continuing to urge shareholders to vote for the deal with Greencore, said a spokesman.
“The Board continues to believe that the proposed merger with Greencore Group to form Essenta Foods offers substantial benefits for its shareholders, customers and employees and will create a convenience foods business with a strong platform for further growth and the potential to realise significant cost savings through synergies.”
Greencore also stressed that its board "continues to believe that the recommended all share merger of Greencore and Northern Foods to form Essenta Foods ... represents a compelling opportunity for value creation for both Greencore and Northern Foods shareholders".