Noisy. That's the only way to describe the battle over Northern Foods, as Ranjit Boparan trumpeted a ballsy 73p per share cash offer for the chilled ready meals, frozen pizza and biscuit business last Friday.

Whether this blast shocks Greencore into submission remains to be seen, but Boparan looks to be in the driving seat, in what marks a potentially radical shift in the shape of both 2 Sisters and the chilled sector.

Yet while Northern shareholders question the true value of the £40m cost synergies the Essenta team has identified given the negotiating powers of the supermarkets there has to be an equally sizable question mark over the risks for Boparan. Quite aside from the question of the price, and the debt required, it is by no means certain the Boparan management has the ability to integrate a sizeable, complex business of this kind.

Its core experience is in primary protein production, a venture it has pursued on an impressive and single-minded scale. But its experience in setting up Tesco's Fresh & Easy ready meals operation in the United States was, by all accounts, not particularly happy, and Tesco ended up opting to run the business itself. It's to the management's credit that the 2 Sisters relationship with Tesco in the UK remains strong, and some sources suggest other customers will welcome Boparan's entrepreneurial spirit.

Whether Northern employees would welcome this is another matter. A plc such as Greencore would be a lot more reassuring for employees than a privately owned company such as 2 Sisters and the culture clash could be costly.

As Greencore mulls over its options, it is not inconceivable that it will sweeten its offer to shareholders with a cash bonus. But CEO Patrick Coveney may walk away. That depends on whether £40m is the total cost synergy or the net. And also how much faith he puts in Essenta's ability to add value.