The Gore Group put the iconic bread manufacturer up for sale three months ago. The shareholder – which acquired a majority stake in Hovis six years ago for around £30m – reportedly hired investment firm RW Baird to oversee the auction, which will begin later this year.
The deal is rumoured to be around the £100m-£150m mark.
Sources said around a dozen parties have allegedly lodged indicative bids, including Endless, Epiris, Aurelius Equity Opportunities and at least one European food producer.
Hovis was borne in 1886, after Richard ‘Stoney’ Smith found a way to separate the wheatgerm from the flour, radically 'changing the way flour was made'.
Today, the company is co-owned by The Gore Group (51%) and Mr Kipling and Angel Delight owner Premier Foods (49%), with a workforce of over 2,700.
The baker commands around 28% share of the UK’s bread market, posting revenue of £335.9m for the year ending December 31, 2018, although it also recorded a 1.5% fall in bread volumes amid tough competition from alternatives in supermarkets. Business, however, has been boosted by an increase in bread sales across the nation, thanks to the coronavirus lockdown.
Hovis is on a mission to highlight the importance of consuming at least 30g of fibre daily as part of a balanced, healthy diet.
All parties have declined to comment.