Premier Foods Plc, the maker of Hovis breads, said it’s in advanced negotiations to sell its meat- substitute unit, which it may divest to reduce debt.
Premier Foods has received several bids from food companies and private-equity firms. Discussions are at “an advanced stage with two parties,” the St Albans, England-based company said in a Regulatory News Service statement today.
Nestle has bid for Premier’s Quorn meat-free brand in a deal that may be worth 230 million pounds ($359 million), Sky News reported yesterday, without saying where it got the information. Premier shares rose 12 percent, the biggest gain in about three months.
Nestle hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. as an adviser and made the offer through Osem Investments Ltd., an Israel-based unit that makes kosher food, Sky reported. Osem’s U.S.-based Foodtech International Inc. unit makes meat-substitute products.
Premier said Oct. 28 it aims to sell assets to reduce net debt, which was 1.37 billion pounds as of June 26. Quorn makes food from mycoprotein, a low-fat protein derived from a member of the fungi family. Premier had sales of 131 million pounds from meat-free products in 2009.
Ferhat Soygenis, a spokesman for Nestle, declined to comment yesterday.
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