Adelie, best known for its Urban Eat brand, was set to finalise the acquisition of Barnsley manufacturer Freshpak Chilled before Christmas, but after hitting some technical delays, The Grocer has found that it could now be as much as a further two months before the deal is likely to be closed.
The complications are thought to include commercial contract issues, according to dealmakers. And to further complicate matters, there is a potential private equity buyer also said to be involved in ongoing talks.
Despite city sources questioning whether the sale would still go ahead, sources close to the acquisition told The Grocer this week the sale was still alive. They said both parties were still involved and the snags were not related to the Freshpak business.
As British Baker reported last March, Adelie foods was acquired by the European arm of global private equity firm, HIG Capital last year. It also brought The Bite Group last October to expand its access to the Irish food-to-go market.
Freshpak Chilled Foods supplies all the major supermarkets in the UK. As well as supplying sandwich fillings, it is also the UK’s biggest producer of hard-boiled eggs.
The company’s sales jumped 23% to £68.7m in the year to 3 January 2015 thanks to the booming UK food-to-go sector, with pre-tax profits hitting £3.4m, according to the latest accounts.
Irish investor Jaguar Capital, which owns Freshpak, appointed corporate finance boutique Spayne Lindsay in 2015 to secure a buyer.