French-headquartered private label producer Biscuit International is also expected to join the fray.
Both Burton’s and Biscuit International have purportedly expressed interest in Fox’s in the past – Burton’s in 2014 and again in 2017, and Biscuit International in September last year. Obviously, no deals emerged.
However, Boparan Holdings – the holding company that owns 2 Sisters Food Group – is stepping up efforts to divest the UK biscuit manufacturer, expected to command a price of between £250m and £300m.
Boparan allegedly has £630m of debt repayable in 2021 in the form of high-interest bonds.
2SFG is in the throes of disposing non-core businesses – such as its bakery division – with the aim of becoming more poultry-centric. It recently concluded the sales of pizza brand Goodfellas and Christmas pudding supplier Matthew Walker.
Ferrero, the family-controlled dynasty behind Kinder chocolate and Nutella, is working with advisers Houlihan Lokey on its bid, according to Sky News.
The Italian confectionery giant is certainly taking strides to become a substantial player on the global biscuit market. In April last year, it edged out Hostess to capture Kellogg's Keebler and other cookie brands in a $1.3bn deal, while in July, a Ferrero subsidiary snapped up Danish biscuit producer Kelson Group from Campbell Soup Company for $300m.
Rothschild is reportedly overseeing the auction process expected to conclude by the end of the year.
2SFG, along with other interested parties, declined to comment.
Fox's Biscuits - founded by the Fox family in 1853 - exports its biscuits throughout Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. The company was purchased by Northern Foods in 1977, which was acquired by 2 Sisters Food Group in 2011.