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Italy's Newlat Halts Talks To Buy UK Food Group Princes

By Reuters
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Italy's Newlat Halts Talks To Buy UK Food Group Princes

Italy's Newlat has halted talks to buy British food group Princes as Japanese seller Mitsubishi Corp rejected a revised proposal for the asset.

Sky News reported in December that British buyout firm Epiris and Newlat were competing to purchase Princes, with Mitsubishi seeking a price of £400 million (€468.1 million).

Newlat said on Friday it had submitted a new proposal for Princes to take into account lower demand and price dynamics in a challenging UK market.

Change Of Mind

Newlat, which operates in sectors including pasta, milk and dairy, added that it remained open to a transaction should Princes' owner change its mind on its latest proposal.

Princes sells tinned fruit and seafood under its own name brand, and other products such as Flora sunflower oil and the Napolina range of Italian-style tomato sauces.

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It traces its roots to 1880, when it was founded as a fish importer in Liverpool, the northern English city where it retains its international headquarters. It has been owned by Mitsubishi since 1989.

'Competitive Process'

In a statement last December, Newlat, which also owns the Symingtons brand, said that it was involved in a 'competitive process' to acquire the Princes brand.

'Newlat Food S.p.A. confirms its participation in the competitive process for the sale of the historic English food group Princes Limited,' it said at the time. 'The company also confirms that the negotiation is currently in a very advanced stage.

'Chairman, Angelo Mastrolia, and the entire management team are committed to seizing a great strategic opportunity capable of creating value for all stakeholders of the group.'

Additional reporting by ESM

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