Potential merger rival to Northern Foods bid

A RIVAL merger bid may throw a proposed tie-up between Northern Foods and Greencore Group plc into chaos.

The board of Northern Foods and Greencore are asking shareholders to give the green light to a merger at a meeting on January 31, forming Essenta Foods.

But businessman Ranjit Boparan could put in a rival bid.

Boparan Holdings Limited, which owns 6.6 per cent of Northern Foods, has said there is no certainty of an offer but his interest has sent share prices soaring.

Mr Boparan has said that his company is at "a preliminary stage in evaluating a possible cash offer."

Northern Foods has confirmed that Boparan Holdings had requested information about the company in line with the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers. It added that no price had been indicated at which any offer may be made.

A cash bid by Mr Boparan could tempt shareholders to back his merger plan.

Group chief executive of Aviva, Mark Wilson  Photo:  John Stillwell/PA Wire

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