Hovis bought by Endless, Leeds private equity firm

Leeds-based private equity firm Endless announced on Friday it acquired Hovis, the iconic 134-year-old bakery brand, for an undisclosed price.

The terms of the agreement have been approved by both the Gores
Group and Premier Foods, Hovis’ current owners.

In a stock exchange statement, Premier Foods said: “Premier Foods plc today announces that it has agreed to the disposal of its interest in Hovis Holdings Limited to Endless LLP.

“Alongside its joint venture partner, The Gores Group LLC, the group has held a 49% minority interest in Hovis since April 2014.

“Under Gores and Premier Foods’ ownership, Hovis has undergone major supply chain restructuring.

“Hovis, which now focuses on bread baking following the disposal of its milling business, is commercially well positioned to grow under new ownership.

“The transaction closed and completed late on 5 November 2020; proceeds of £37m due to the group include the repayment of outstanding loan notes and accrued interest.”

Endless said: “Endless has invested from Endless Fund IV and this is the firm’s third investment in the food sector in recent times …

“Hovis is a favoured consumer bread brand and is supported by its key customers and suppliers.

“It has seen strong growth in its branded market share and the business is well placed to capture further share of the UK’s £4 billion overall bakery category.   

“With headquarters in High Wycombe, the business employs circa.2,700 people and operates eight bakery sites, its own flour mill and a distribution network spanning the UK and Northern Ireland.   

“Under the current management team, Hovis has seen a significant up-turn in trading in the last four years and will continue to drive its strategy focused on delivering great quality products, customer value and service.

“Further investment agreed as part of the deal with Endless will allow the Hovis management team to make significant investment into the business infrastructure, growth of its branded range and other bakery products.”

Hovis CEO Nish Kankiwala said: “We are delighted to announce this agreement with Endless today.

“Based on our extensive engagement with Endless over the past several months, it became clear that both parties share a commitment to customers and colleagues and for building on Hovis’ heritage by investing in growing both the brand and product range.

“This shared vision 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.

“We are looking forward to working together to execute this strategy and to delivering the next phase of growth.”

Francesco Santinon, Partner at Endless, added: “Hovis is the instantly recognisable British bread brand with a strong and established heritage.

“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.”

Endless was advised by Houlihan Lokey, Dechert, KPMG and Hovis was advised by Robert W. Baird.