Private equity firm Rutland Partners was said to be ready to offload the turkey giant to 2 Sisters in a pre-pack administration deal, according to The Telegraph.
The deal will protect the future of all 2,000 Bernard Matthews employees, the newspaper claimed.
Interest in the future of Bernard Matthews was sparked in June, when Rutland appointed financial advisory firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers to look for possible buyers.
The company’s small pension scheme will move into the government’s Pension Protection Fund, which will most likely result in a cut in pension funds, financial experts claimed.
Unite the union, which has 450 members at Bernard Matthews, expressed concern over the development.
Unite regional officer Mark Walker told FoodManufacture.co.uk that it was currently “having discussions with the management of Bernard Matthews on a number of issues about the future of the firm”. He said he wouldn’t be able to comment further until those discussions had concluded.
Bernard Matthews has encountered a number of loss-making years in the wake of declining poultry sales.
The turkey giant, which operates around 400 farms across Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire, was hurt by a bird flu outbreak in 2007. It also suffered from Jamie Oliver’s attack on its Turkey Twizzlers a decade ago.
Turnover of £277M
In January, the turkey giant posted a turnover of £277M for the year ending June 2015, down from £307M the year before.
The company emailed its staff at the end of June to inform them it was up for sale.
2 Sisters owner Boparan Holdings has been on the acquisition trail in recent months. June’s acquisition of restaurant chain Giraffe from Tesco, followed the purchase of Grove Farm Turkeys in April, and restaurant brand Cinnamon Collection in January.
A spokeswoman for Rutland Partners told FoodManufacture.co.uk “it is not the company's policy to comment on speculation in the media”.
No response was received by 2 Sisters at the time of publication.