Boparan Holdings, the owner of 2 Sisters, confirmed the purchase of the business by Boparan Private Office, a private investment vehicle of Ranjit Singh Boparan, in a statement last night (September 20).
According to the company, the acquisition will create a strong platform for future growth, ensuring that Bernard Matthews was well positioned to develop into a “sustainable, growing business”.
The Boparan Private Office said: “We intend to respect and build on the 66-year heritage of a much-loved British brand and crucially help to deliver Christmas 2016, which would have been at risk without our intervention.
“We have a proven track-record in turning around businesses and we aim to make Bernard Matthews great again.”
It added: “This deal is ultimately good news for UK consumers and our customers, who will benefit from a secure supply of British turkey from one of the most recognisable brands in the UK.”
In a statement, private equity firm Rutland Partners – owner of Bernard Matthews – said it had invested “significant funds” into the business and brand over the last three years in a continually challenging market.
It said: “While disappointed that the business has continued to struggle during our ownership we are pleased that it has now been acquired by Ranjit Boparan with access to a large, UK poultry group and that all the jobs have been preserved.”
Unite the union also confirmed the sale was going through in an earlier statement on Tuesday.
The union said that the sale looked like it would secure the jobs of the 2,000 workers employed by the firm, but it was seeking clarification on future employment, pay, and terms and conditions under the new ownership.
It is due to meet the management team at Bernard Matthews’ headquarters at Great Witchingham, Norfolk, at 10am on Wednesday (September 21).
Unite regional officer Steve Harley said: “The announcement that Bernard Matthews has been sold by its owner Rutland Partners to the 2 Sisters Food Group appears to be good news for the 2,000-strong workforce. We are giving the news a cautious welcome.
“However, in takeover situations, there are always matters that need to be clarified. Unite is meeting the company tomorrow where searching questions will be asked on future employment, pay, and terms and conditions.
“We will also be asking about the status of the pension scheme under the new owners, although it is expected that our members won’t be affected in this respect by today’s takeover.
“Bernard Matthews is a major employer in East Anglia and the union wants to work constructively with the new ownership to ensure the continuing success of this iconic company.”
Unite represents about 800 of the 2,000-strong workforce at the producing sites at Great Witchingham and Holton in Suffolk, as well as the animal food mill at Bawsey, near King’s Lynn.
There was speculation over the future of Bernard Matthews over the summer after Rutland Partners appointed financial advisory firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers to look for possible buyers.
Earlier this week both Boparan Holdings and Bernard Matthews declined to comment on reports that they were close to striking a deal.
Meanwhile, Boparan Private Office issued a clarification this morning contradicting reports that Bernard Matthews had been acquired by the 2 Sisters Food Group.
“A lot of overnight media reports and pre-emptive press releases from outside organisations not connected with this acquisition have been based on speculation and contain inaccurate information,” according to a statement from the office.
Bernard Matthews had not been acquired by 2 Sisters Food Group but by Boparan Private Office, it stressed. Read its clarification below.
Boparan Private Office issues Bernard Mathews clarification
“For absolute clarity:
- Bernard Matthews has not been acquired by 2 Sisters Food Group
- Bernard Matthews has been acquired by the private investment vehicle of Mr Ranjit Singh Boparan, known as the Boparan Private Office
- This is an entirely separate trading entity and is not a subsidiary of or parent to 2 Sisters Food Group
- The administrator’s statement issued last evening confirms this fact
- We would be grateful if any existing incorrect reports could be amended and any future reports reflect this fact.”
Source: Boparan Private Office