UK private equity firm Endless has bought Hovis, a 134-year-old bakery brand, from The Gores Group and Premier Foods following a restructuring.
The sale ends a bidding war that featured rival offers from Epiris, Aurelius Equity Opportunities and Italian group Newlat Food, which stepped out of the race earlier this week. The financials of the deal were not disclosed, but the company is understood to be valued at around £100 million.
LA-based Gores picked up a 51% stake in the company via a £30 million buyout in 2014. Premier, which also owns food brands like Mr Kipling and Batchelors, maintained a 49% interest. Under the two owners, Hovis underwent major supply chain restructuring and sold its milling business to focus on baked goods. Premier said the sale generated £37 million after the repayment of outstanding debt.
Leeds-headquartered Endless made the investment via its fourth flagship fund, which reached a £525 million close in 2014. The firm, which plans to expand Hovis' bakery product range, has a strong track record of food investments. In 2015, it bought cake business Bright Blue Food via Fund IV. Prior to that, the firm acquired pork producer Karro Food Group, which was later sold to CapVest Partners for €209 million (about $248 million).