UK – Gores Group, a global private equity firm specializing in acquiring and partnering with mature and growing businesses, and Premier Foods have sold UK bakery brand Hovis to Private equity firm Endless for an undisclosed sum.

Hovis will become part of Endless’ larger family which is also comprised of BBF, a supplier of ambient cake products to major UK grocers.

Headquartered in High Wycombe, the Hovis business employs around 2,700 people and operates eight bakery sites, a flour mill, and a distribution network spanning the UK and Northern Ireland.

The 134-year-old British bread maker dates from an 1886 flour-milling innovation by Staffordshire baker Richard “Stoney” Smith.

The acquisition comes at a time when consumer trends resulting from the coronavirus pandemic have helped a sector that had previously suffered from households moving away from bread to perceived healthier options.

Bread sales spiked during the first UK lockdown: they were more than 10 per cent ahead of last year in the four weeks to March 22, April 19 and May 17 2020, according to Kantar data.

Following the acquisition, Endless said it plans to inject new capital into Hovis to strengthen its business infrastructure, and grow its branded range and other bakery products.

“Hovis is the instantly recognisable British bread brand with a strong and established heritage,” said Francesco Santinon, partner at Endless.

“We were extremely impressed by the management team and have great confidence in supporting and investing in its future as Hovis looks to achieve further expansion within the bakery category.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Hovis CEO, Nish Kankiwala, said: “both parties (Hovis and Endless) share a commitment to customers and colleagues and for building on Hovis’ heritage by investing in growing both the brand and product range.”

Kankiwala explained that the shared vision between the two companies “makes Endless the best shareholder to support our ambitious plans.”

“The acquisition will help drive our strategy for growth by bringing both strategic and operational value to Hovis,” Kinkiwala added.

Endless previously owned pork business Karro Food Group, which it claimed to have turned from a ‘heavy-loss-making’ business into a highly profitable one by the time it sold Karro in 2017.

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