In a statement, the Italian company said it was competing with other parties for the iconic UK bread brand, in which it aimed to acquire a 100% share holding.
Newlat Food's statement read: "With reference to the news published on the Sky News UK website, the company Newlat Food confirms that it has submitted to the shareholders of the Hovis Holdings Limited group a non-binding offer aimed at acquiring all the shares of the target, in the context of a non-exclusive competitive auction.
"The management of Newlat Food considers it useful to underline that the acquisition of Hovis, an over 100-year-old brand with a great tradition and recognizability in the UK, would allow Newlat Food to anticipate by 24 months two important objectives set out in the business development plan proposed to investors during the IPO road-show: 1. achieve consolidated revenues of approximately €1bn; 2. become one of the most important operators in the food sector in Europe, with a substantial market share in Italy, Germany and the UK.
Production and distribution
"The production and distribution structure of Hovis would also offer the possibility to benefit from numerous synergies and to implement a virtuous cross-selling activity. Newlat Food is awaiting feedback from Hovis shareholders and, therefore, any other details regarding the transaction will be communicated with the evolution of the negotiations."
The Newlat Group describes itself as a multinational, multi-brand and multi-channel player in the Italian and European agri-food sector. It has a large portfolio of products and brands well-known in Italy and internationally, including Buitoni pasta. It holds a consolidated positioning in the Italian and German markets and sells products in more than 60 countries. The business is mainly active in the pasta, dairy, bakery and special products sectors, and in particular in the health & wellness, gluten-free and baby food sectors.
Hovis has so far declined to issue an official statement.
Hovis Limited is jointly owned by global investment firm The Gores Group, which holds a 51% stake in the company, and Premier Foods, which has a 49% stake. It is based in High Wycombe and employs 2,800 people in eight bakeries, one flourmill and three distribution centres across the UK.