US fund in Hillsdown bid

HILLSDOWN HOLDINGS appeared to be heading for break-up yesterday when the Typhoo tea and Chivers Hartley jams group said it had received several approaches that could lead to a pounds 430m bid for the company.

It is understood that the most likely buyer is Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, the American leveraged buy-out fund whose protracted talks with Pearson to buy part of Simon & Schuster business collapsed earlier this year. Its offer is likely to be pitched at around 120p per share, giving Hillsdown an enterprise value, including debt, of over pounds 500m. The shares closed 26p higher at 112.5p yesterday, a rise of 30 per cent.

There are other bidders looking at the company but it is understood that Hicks, Muse is the lead buyer and that talks are at an advanced stage. Hicks Muse would only be interested in certain parts of Hillsdown, such as its successful canning business and the Christie Tyler furniture operation. The rest, such as poultry and biscuits, is likely to be sold.

Hillsdown said it would issue another statement in due course on the approaches but it is thought it that the company would find it difficult to fight a bid. Large parts of its stock are held by US arbitrageurs which have used stock loaning procedures to ensure they do not appear on the share register. It is thought they will sell out to the highest bidder. It would not be the first time Hillsdown has been the subject of a break- up bid. Last year Unigate made an approach regarding a possible pounds 1.6bn takeover but walked away at the last minute.

Hillsdown pressed ahead with a demerger strategy instead, spinning off Fairview Homes and Terranova Foods, its chilled Foods operation which succumbed to a pounds 274m hostile bid from Unigate last month.

It also announced its intention to sell its poultry, wines and spirits, continental biscuits, furniture and potato operations. However, initial indications of interest in the furniture and potato businesses failed to be converted into firm offers and the sale was pulled. The delay in the proposed sales meant the company was unable to return cash to shareholders as previously planned.

Hillsdown did manage to sell its high margin poultry business Ross Breeders for pounds 100m in December. It also sold its continental biscuits business for pounds 42m in February and recently sold its Dutch canning operations for pounds 25. Gearing is currently around 80 per cent.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam