Brands such as Lea & Perrins and Pot Noodle could be Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst’s targets after it raised money through a public flotation of Premier Foods, according to industry sources.
The investment group has made no secret of the fact that it has a shortlist of 10 UK brands which it would be interested in acquiring. However, it has stopped short of identifying them.
Industry sources cited Lea & Perrins, owned by Danone, and Marmite and Pot Noodle, owned by Unilever Bestfoods, as natural targets. Brands owned by Campbell and RHM’s Centura Foods subsidiary were also mentioned as good fits.
Earlier this week, Hicks, Muse confirmed plans to float Premier Foods on the London Stock Exchange from July 20 after an initial global share offer to institutional investors. It hopes to make £300m through the move, reducing its holding in Premier Foods from 94% to 50%. The cash will be used to cover debts as well as going towards a war chest which would provide it with £200m. The company said earlier this week that it was willing to spend the majority of that on one purchase.
Recent Hicks, Muse purchases include Weetabix and Ambrosia creamed rice pudding. Weetabix and Burton’s Biscuits, also owned by Hicks, Muse, are not included in the flotation because they are standalone companies, separate from Premier.