Unilever may have to look to venture capitalists to find a buyer for Birds Eye, should it decide to sell following a full-scale review of the brand announced this week.
Analysts agree that rivals such as Premier Foods or McCain would struggle to either afford or absorb Birds Eye, which currently commands 15% of the UK’s frozen foods business. This would make the most likely bidder a private equity company.
The fmcg giant said that the review would take several months to complete and that it was considering four outcomes. These are a complete sale of the
frozen food business excluding its lucrative frozen desserts operation, a partial sale, entering a joint venture or retaining and overhauling the business.
Meanwhile, Heinz has unveiled plans to sell its European seafood and frozen and chilled food businesses, (The Grocer, May 14, p5). The group said the sale of the arms, which include John West and Linda McCartney, would allow it to focus on its core categories.
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