Dorset Cereals is not up for sale and reports to the contrary are "wild rumour and speculation", its boss told The Grocer this week.
The cereal brand was founded more than 20 years ago and has rocketed in value since being acquired by private equity firm Langolm Capital in 2005. It was approached by suitors from time to time, but had not been put on the market, MD Peter Farquhar said.
"We are private equity-owned so will be sold one day," he said. "But when that day comes it will be a combination of planning for it and good fortune."
The statement of its intention comes after a report in the Daily Telegraph this week claiming the business had been put up for sale in a move that could value it at £50m.
Two suitors were identified: Lion Capital-owned Weetabix and Grove Fresh owner Wellness Foods, backed by Lydian Capital and Irish horseracing tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier. The report followed Langholm Capital's appointment of corporate finance house McQueen to advise on strategic opportunities.
But Farquhar insisted Langholm used the services of a variety of advisers and McQueen's appointment was not an indication it was hoisting a for-sale sign over Dorset Cereals. "This is a case of adding two and two together and getting five," he said. "It is very flattering, but we're focused on growing the business by moving into more cereals and new categories."
Such speculation was "destabilising" internally and externally, he added, but it was business as usual in operational terms.
Dorset Cereals' core range was worth £15.1m for the year to October [Nielsen], up 122% on last year's £6.2m. However, it is forecast to come in at more than £20m for the full year, taking into account sales from Chunky Slices cereal bars and Naturally Light Flakes.
The business expects to double turnover again next year.