Chicken magnate Ranjit Singh Boparan (pictured) has moved a step closer to launching his hostile bid for Northern Foods.

The owner of 2 Sisters Food Group has written to the manufacturing giant asking for access to information about the company ahead of its planned merger with Irish convenience group Greencore.

Boparan Holdings subsequently confirmed it was at a preliminary stage in
evaluating a possible cash offer for Northern but stressed there was no
certainty an offer would be made.

Northern said in a statement that the letter contained no details of Boparan's intentions.

“Shareholders should be aware that there is no certainty that an offer will be made nor as to the terms upon which any such offer may be made,” Northern said.

Earlier this month it emerged that Boparan had bought a 6.6% stake in Northern, which expects to generate annual cost savings of up to £40m through its tie-up with Greencore.

Shareholders will vote on the merger on 31 January, with the combined company to be renamed Essenta Foods if a tie-up is concluded.

Read more
Greencore acquires US sandwich maker (11 December 2010)
2 Sisters owner Boparan in surprise move on Northern (7 December 2010)