Report: Premier appeals to private equity

The UK food conglomerate’s chief executive has reportedly asked Goldman Sachs to approach Blackstone, Bain, Lion and Permira in the hopes of obtaining a debt-busting equity injection of up to £700m. Premier owns brands including baked goods maker Hovis.

Premier Foods, the owner of UK household brands such as Hovis, is reportedly approaching private equity firms for a cash injection of between £200 million and £700 million.

Private equity firms Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, Lion Capital and Permira have been contacted by Premier Foods’ restructurers, Goldman Sachs, with regard to the equity bid, according to reports in UK newspapers The Telegraph and The Financial Times.

Premier declined to comment on the media reports, but confirmed that it is reviewing a range of options to accelerate the reduction of its debt. As part of this review it has held talks with “a number if its investors and certain other parties regarding possible investment in Premier”.

Premier has debts of more than £1.7 billion, having used leverage to takeover Campbells Soup for £450 million and RHM for £1.2 billion in 2006.

This morning Premier’s stock rose 2.9 percent to 27 pence per share.

Permira, Lion Capital and Bain Capital declined to comment on the reports, and The Blackstone Group was not available for comment at press time.