Hovis sold to UK private equity group following bidding war

Hovis Loaf

Hovis, the 134-year old British bread brand, has been bought by a UK private equity firm following a bidding war.

Joint owners Premier Foods, of Mr Kipling fame, and US-based Gores Group sold the brand to Endless for an undisclosed sum days after Sky News revealed that it was close to seeing off competition from an Italian food producer.

It is understood that a price of £100m had been sought for the bakery.

Premier, which had a 49% stake in Hovis, said it was to receive proceeds of £37m.

For its part, Endless promised “significant investment” in Hovis at a time when household essentials are in strong demand due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The brand employs 2,700 people.

Endless has previously owned The West Cornwall Pasty Company and pork giant Karro Foods.

Endless partner, Francesco Santinon, said of the deal: “Hovis is the instantly recognisable British bread brand with a strong and established heritage.

“We were extremely impressed by the management team and have great confidence in supporting and investing in its future as Hovis looks to achieve further expansion within the bakery category.”

Hovis chief executive, Nish Kankiwala, added: “Based on our extensive engagement with Endless over the past several months, it became clear that both parties share a commitment to customers and colleagues and for building on Hovis’s heritage by investing in growing both the brand and product range.”