Italy's Newlat Food has presented a preliminary, non-binding offer to buy Hovis, the 134-year-old British bread maker, a source with knowledge of the matter has said.
Hovis has also attracted the interest of private equity and turnaround funds, Sky News said on Friday, citing the potential involvement of Newlat.
The Italian group is ready to spend as much as £100 million (€110.4 million) for the bread maker, which is owned by Premier Foods and The Gores Group, the source said.
The acquisition of Hovis would allow Newlat Food to increase its annual turnover to €1 billion, reaching ahead of time a goal set when it listed in October 2019.
It would also give more international exposure to the Milan-listed group, which is already active in Germany.
The Parma-based group - which has recently acquired Italian dairy company Centrale del Latte d'Italia - has a portfolio of many different brands, including Delverde pasta.
It also manufactures Buitoni products under a licensing deal with Nestlé.
News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.