Premier Foods Seeking £700 Million

LONDON (Reuters) – Premier Foods (PFD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the indebted British owner of Hovis bread and many of the nation’s other best-known food brands, is talking to investment banks and private equity groups about a potential 700 million pound ($1 billion) fundraising, newspapers said on Sunday.

Premier’s chief executive Robert Schofield last week asked investment bank Goldman Sachs, which is advising the company on the restructuring of its 1.7 billion pounds of debt, to contact investment firms including Bain Capital, Blackstone, Lion Capital and Permira, the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times newspapers said.

Premier is also talking to existing institutional shareholders, including Aberdeen Asset Management, about taking part in the capital raising exercise, the reports said.

Goldman is understood to have told the private equity groups that Premier, which also counts Mr Kipling cakes, Bisto gravy, Sharwood’s curry sauces and Branston pickle among its brands, is keen to recruit a “cornerstone” investor in the company, the Telegraph said.

Premier has previously said it is considering a range of options to pay off its debt.

A spokesman for the group declined to comment on the reports on Sunday. ($1=.6723 pounds) (Reporting by Philip Waller; Editing by Greg Mahlich)