Hovis, a British flour and bread producer, has reportedly obtained a takeover bid from an Italian pasta & dairy firm, Newlat Food, which is aiming to gain ownership of the 134-year-old food company.

Reliable sources from Newlat claim that the company has launched a non-binding offer to the shareholders of Hovis. It has described Hovis as a brand with great recognizability and tradition in the UK.

Presently, Hovis is under the control of The Gores Group, a U.S. investment firm, and Premier Foods. The two companies bought a controlling stake in Hovis in 2014.

Newlat, which produces a range of dairy products & pasta, is awaiting the response from the shareholders, as the deal will enable the company to reach its target of expanding its international footprint and becoming a key operator in the Europe food sector, with a substantial share in the UK, Germany, and Italy. It has become a listed brand on the Milan stock exchange and has stated that the acquisition of Hovis will allow it to make €1 billion ($1.17 billion) turnover ahead of time.

Hovis, based in High Wycombe, has an employee base of 2,800 across 8 bakeries, 3 distribution centers, and 1 flourmill across the UK. Similar to other well-known British brands, the company has had a succession of owners in the past years. In 1886, it was developed in Macclesfield, Cheshire at Samuel Fitton and Sons’ flour mill. Following a series of mergers in 1962, it became a part of RHM (Rank Hovis McDougall).

In 2007, Premier Foods bought a controlling stake in RHM. 7 years later, the company sold a 51% stake in RHM to The Gores Group, in order to make Hovis Limited an Anglo-American joint venture. In addition, Hovis was the subject of a popular TV commercial in the UK in 1973, which launched the career of Ridley Scott, a film director.

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