Selling the Bernard Matthews business “would be well down the list” of options available to the company, executive chairman David Joll has said amid reports that poultry tycoon Ranjit Boparan is preparing a bid.
News that the turkey giant has instructed PwC to explore future inward investment emerged last month, but to date it has refused to discuss the options or state which ones it favours.
In his first interview since rejoining the company in May, Joll, who led the business between 1987 and 2005, said the company had already attracted a number of potential investors.
He would not outline the company’s options, but commenting on the likelihood of a takeover, he said: “For me personally, that’s something that would be well down the list.” The company had multiple options available, he added.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Boparan was planning a possible bid for Bernard Matthews, allowing him to further consolidate his grip on the UK protein sector. 2 Sisters Food Group was given clearance for its takeover of Vion’s UK poultry business by the Office of Fair Trading on Wednesday.
Joll would not be drawn on whether a takeover by Boparan was on the cards.
“We never comment on specific parties. That wouldn’t be right or proper.” A 2 Sisters spokesman added that it did not comment on speculation.
News that Bernard Matthews is looking for investment follows the departure of several members of senior management in recent months, as well as the proposed redundancies of up to 50 members of staff.