Boparan increases Northern Foods stake

Chicken magnate Ranjit Boparan, the entrepreneur behind the 2 Sisters Food Group, has upped his stake in Northern Foods.

Yesterday he lifted his share in the pizza and biscuit company from 6.6% to 11.4% after he secured the backing of the board for his £342m cash offer for the company.

Although it was not clear where Boparan purchased the shares, market sources said that Lloyds Banking Group had sold down its stake in the Goodfella’s pizza business. He paid 73p a share for 22.4m shares in Northern.

Previously, the board of Northen Foods had been recommending a paper merger with Irish rival Greencore, but the Boparan offer  represents more than a 50% premium to the price of the Greencore offer and he has won the agreement of the Northern pension trustees, which was previously seen as a stumbling block.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange yesterday, Boparan Holdings called its cash bid a “highly attractive offer”, that gave Northern Foods “the certainty of a full cash offer”.

However Greencore has said that “it continues to believe that a combination with Northern Foods to create Essenta Foods represents a compelling opportunity for value creation for both Greencore and Northern Foods shareholders”.

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