Northern Foods’ shareholders are waiting for details of a cash bid from poultry magnate Ranjit Boparan, which values the company at £342m.

The board has given its backing to a bid from the owner of 2 Sisters, despite previously agreeing on the terms of a merger with Irish convenience group Greencore, which would have created Essenta Foods through an all-share bid. The boards at both firms said late last year that merger benefits would include the combining of their significant positions in the manufacture of products such as pizzas, pies, selected cakes and desserts.

Boparan has until 19 February to post offer documents to shareholders thought to include further details of his plans for Northern’s pensions deficit.