Belfast Telegraph

Northern Foods backs Harry Ramsden buy-out

Shares in Northern Foods soared 15% after its management backed a £342m buy-out offer from the owner of the Harry Ramsden's fish restaurants.

Ranjit Singh Boparan's last-minute offer on Friday for the Goodfella's Pizza and Fox's biscuits manufacturer prompted its management to ditch a previous deal involving a merger with sandwich maker Greencore.

The Irish firm said it is considering its options and according to the Financial Times may return with a sweetened offer for Northern.

Northern's shares rose to 72.5p, broadly in line with Mr Boparan's offer price of 73p per share. Mr Boparan wants to combine Northern with his other food businesses, including chicken producer 2 Sisters, to create a major player in the food industry with £2bn of annual sales.

Northern's management had previously recommended the merger with Greencore but now they are backing Mr Boparan's cash offer.

The offer is at a 61.3% premium to the closing share price of 45.3p per share on November 16 when the merger was announced and more than 10p in excess of Friday's closing share price of 62.8p.