It said today that Boparan Holdings must clarify its statement to the market last month – when it revealed it had asked Northern for information that is also being used for its proposed £500mmerger with Greencore.
At the time it had been thought that a £300m hostile takeover bid was on the cards – but as yet no bid has been forthcoming. Now, Boparan Holdings as until 5pm on 21 January 2011 to confirm its intentions.
In a statement, The Takeover Panel said: “No extension to this deadline will be granted, except with the consent of the Panel Executive. All parties have accepted this ruling.”
Commenting on the ruling, Northern Food said that it welcomed the intervention of the Takeover Panel and added its board preferred the proposed merger with Greencore.
Northern Foods said: “To date Boparan has not made an offer proposal to the board of Northern Foods and there is no certainty that any offer will be made or of the terms of any such offer.
“The board continues unanimously to recommend shareholders to vote in favour of the proposed merger at the shareholder meetings on 31 January 2011. The board
continues to believe that the proposed merger with Greencore Group to form Essenta Foods offers substantial benefits for its shareholders, customers and employees and will create a convenience foods business with a strong platform for further growth and the potential to realise
significant cost savings through synergies.”
Ranjit Boparan, the millionaire entrepreneur, has been building his stake in Northern Foods in recent months via Saerimmer Ltd and his holding now stands around 6.6%.