Nomad Holdings Ltd., the acquisition vehicle backed by entrepreneurs Martin E. Franklin and Noam Gottesman, said it’s in early talks to buy frozen-food producer Findus Group Ltd.
The discussions are focused on Findus’s continental European business and its brand, Nomad said in a statement Wednesday. A deal would follow London-based Nomad’s agreement in April to purchase Iglo Foods Holdings Ltd., the maker of Birds Eye frozen vegetables, for 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion).
A combination of Iglo and Findus would create a frozen food giant with products spanning fish fingers, peas and microwavable lasagna. Iglo is the world’s second-largest frozen-food manufacturer, with 3.3 percent of the market in 2014, according to data from Euromonitor International.
Nomad, which is backed by billionaire Bill Ackman, said the talks are at a preliminary stage, and there is no certainty a deal will be reached. Findus’s shareholders include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lion Capital and Highbridge Capital.
Nomad said Monday that a trading suspension that took effect following the announcement of the Iglo takeover announcement remains in place. The company is seeking a readmission as well as a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Findus Europe has operations in France, where companies backed by Franklin have made investments including the Bolle glasses brand and ski equipment maker Rossignol Group, as well as Scandinavia and Germany.
The founders of Nomad are known as dealmakers. Franklin built Florida-based Jarden Corp. into a consumer-goods empire valued at about $10.4 billion, while Gottesman co-founded hedge fund GLG Partners Inc. and sold the firm to Man Group Plc in
Nomad raised $485 million from an initial public offering in April 2014 to fund acquisitions in the food and beverage industry, data compiled by Bloomberg show. At the time of the Iglo acquisition, Nomad said it will raise about $750 million more from a private placement to institutional investors.
Pershing Square, the hedge fund controlled by Ackman, disclosed Tuesday that it owns a 21.7 percent stake in Nomad. Ackman also backed Franklin at Platform Specialty Products Corp., the chemical producer which counts Pershing Square as its largest shareholder, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Buying Feltham, England-based Iglo gave Nomad a business with sales of about 1.5 billion euros last year and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 306 million euros.