Greencore facing decision day in Northern Foods fight
TODAY could be decision day for Greencore if it is to make a new bid for Northern Foods.
The Irish company is said to be "considering its options" ahead of deciding whether or not it will renew its interest in Northern. Last November, Greencore agreed a deal to merge with the British company, but that offer was trumped by a rival takeover bid by businessman Ranjit Boparan, who is offering a 73p a share in cash to buy the firm.
Greencore's original merger offer was an all-paper bid estimated at about 50p a share.
Officially, the Irish company has until March 27 to make a new bid for the maker of Goodfellas Pizza and Donegal Catch frozen fish, but the de facto deadline would appear to be today, as that is the deadline for Northern shareholders to accept Mr Boparan's offer.
Mr Boparan will have to reveal how successful he has been at locking up Northern shareholders with his 73p-a-share bid, but an extension may be granted if shareholders decide to hold out in case Greencore makes a better offer.
Greencore has reportedly been in talks with other food companies and private equity in an effort to mount some sort of effort at Northern, with an added cash element considered essential if it is to have a chance.
However, analysts remain sceptical the sandwich maker can get the firepower to make a winning offer.
Northern closed at 73.75p last night, its lowest point since Mr Boparan made his bid, suggesting the market may not expect Greencore to make a renewed offer.