Analysts have urged food manufacturer RHM to buy all or part of the operations Northern Foods wants to dispose of.

In May, Northern Foods hoisted a 'for sale' sign over its cakes and speciality breads, chilled pastry products, NFT Distribution and Smith's flour milling businesses as part of a radical restructure (The Grocer, 3 June, p8).

Analysts said that RHM should make the most of the opportunity to snap up some of the businesses. "For RHM to buy Northern Foods would make a lot of sense," said one. The two companies had high synergies and quite a lot of category overlap, he added, with both manufacturers operating in bread, cakes and ready meals. RHM declined to comment.

Last week Northern Foods sold the first of its businesses that are up for sale, NFT Distribution, for £51.2m to a new group formed by a management buyout and backed by private equity group Phoenix Equity Partners.