The Italian food producer behind Buitoni pasta has made an audacious £100+ million bid for Hovis.
Sky News was first to reveal that Newlat Food was among the parties jostling to buy the iconic bread brand
In a statement on its website, the Milan-based company has since confirmed the news, saying it had made a non-binding offer to shareholders, describing Hovis as a brand with “a great tradition and recognisability in the United Kingdom”.
Newlat said buying Hovis would help it achieve its aim of becoming one of the most important operators in the food sector in Europe.
Newlat, however, is by no means the only suitor circling the brand. Some reports suggest there are up to 10 serious contenders including Endless, Epiris, and Aurelius Equity Opportunities.
Owned by Premier Foods and US investment firm, Gores Group, the 134-year old bread brand was established in 1886 and has grown to become one of Britain’s most adored food brands, thanks in part to the famous 1973 television advert showing a boy pushing his loaf-laden bike up a steep hill.
It was recently crowned Britain’s most iconic and heart-warming advert in a British poll and was lovingly re-mastered frame-by-frame by the British Film Institute for the digital age, 46 years after it first aired.
Based in High Wycombe, Hovis employs over 2700 people across the UK. The brand experienced a massive surge in sales during lockdown as consumers stockpiled.
“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,” its statement said.