The private equity backer of Café Rouge’s parent company has joined a host of suitors hoping to dine out on Princes Foods, the company behind some of Britain’s most popular tinned foods.
Sky News understands that Epiris, which counts restaurant operator Big Table and the auctioneer Bonhams among its investments, is among the parties weighing formal bids for Princes.
An offer deadline set by Mitsubishi Corporation, the giant Japanese conglomerate which owns Princes, passed on Friday, according to insiders.
In addition to Epiris, other suitors said to have lodged their interest in the producer of tinned fish and fruits are One Rock Capital Partners, an investment firm already backed by Mitsubishi.
Peak Rock Capital, Valeo Foods, which is majority-owned by the buyout firm Bain Capital, Aurelius Group, the corporate carve-out specialist, and Capvest have also been suggested as prospective buyers.
Houlihan Lokey, the investment bank, has been appointed to handle the sale, which industry sources said could be valued at between £400m and £500m.
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Princes has been owned by Mitsubishi since 1989, but traces its roots back to 1900.
Its sales declined in 2022, but remains one of the UK’s biggest food groups, with revenues of close to £1.5bn in the year to the end of March 2022.
One banker suggested a break-up of the company was possible, with its oils business one candidate to be disposed of separately.
Epiris declined to comment.