Private equity firms left in the game were PAI Partners, which owns United Biscuits and acquired R&R Ice Cream last year, Sun Capital Partners and The Gores Group, according to one source. However, it is not known whether all if any of these firms are still in contention.
Although Premier Foods announced that it had appointed Ondra Partners to investigate options for the future of its bread business which included seeking outside investors to enable it to compete with other major players in the sector such as Warburtons and Allied Bakeries – Julian Wild, a partner with law firm Rollits, was convinced the company was looking for an outright sale.
One interim measure, if it can’t secure an outright sale of the business, might be for Premier to enter into a joint venture partnership with outside investors to bring the business up to par with its competitors.
Various analysts and other sources said Premier was looking for around £100M for the business. However, the food group might not achieve this figure, as it failed to secure the price it was looking for in a potential deal reported earlier last year. Premier needs to secure a minimum price from any sale it secures to enable it to reduce its debt burden, which has been reported to be £863.1M.
Most analysts expect Premier Foods to make a rights issue or undertake some other financial transaction during the first half of this year to raise much needed cash to prevent it breaching its banking covenants.