Bakery brand Hovis sold to UK private equity firm Endless

Historic bakery brand Hovis has been bought by a UK private equity firm after a significant turnaround over the past four years.

The 134-year-old business has been bought by Endless LLP from joint venture owners Gores Group and Mr Kipling-owner Premier Foods for an undisclosed sum.

Premier Foods said it will receive £37 million in proceeds from the deal, which was closed late on Thursday evening.

Endless, which has previously owned The West Cornwall Pasty Company and pork giant Karro Foods, said it will pump “significant investment” into Hovis to help its current management achieve their future plans.

It comes after a major turnaround at Hovis, which sold the majority of its milling business in 2018 to focus on baking operations.

The company, which employs around 2,700 people, is one of a number bakery brands to see strong sales in 2020 as customers stocked up on groceries in the face of Covid-19.

Hovis was put up for sales by majority owner Gores earlier this year and was subject to a bidding war until Italian food group Newlat pulled out of the running earlier this week.

Nish Kankiwala, chief executive of Hovis, said: “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’s 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, said: “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.”