Wigan-based Poole’s Pies has been sold in a pre-pack deal to Leeds-based Midland Bakery, part of Country Style Foods.

Poole’s had filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator at the High Court in Manchester, earlier this week, but was promptly acquired by Country Style. 

The case is being handled by Altrincham accountancy firm Milner Boardman.

It is understood that owner Dave Whelan originally agreed a £4m deal to sell the business in March last year to Neil Court-Johnson, former Holland’s Pies boss, but that the transaction was never formally completed.

Speaking to TheBusinessDesk.com, Court-Johnston said: “There has been a measure of disagreement over recent weeks over the forward direction of the business. I’m not in a position to comment further, but despite being a director I was unaware of the current moves.

“My prime concern now is for our employees. We’ve successfully brought in major customers and planned to create substantial employment in Wigan, in excess of 200 jobs. Hopefully, any transaction will produce similar benefits.”

Whelan also owns Wigan Athletic and DW Sports. After acquiring Poole’s over 25 years ago, he invested close to £10m in the 300,000sq ft bakery, which can produce up to 100,000 pies and pastries per hour.

“I felt I could not go forward with the original deal for a number of reasons and had no alternative than to put the business into administration,” Whelan told TheBusinessDesk.com.

Founded in 1847, the company is reported to be the oldest bakery in England. The business currently employs around 60 staff, and supplies sweet and savoury baked goods to Asda and Tesco.

British Baker reported on Poole’s partnership with Asda in May this year, which saw Poole’s Pies sold in 500 stores across the UK.