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British bread maker Hovis gets bid approach from Italy's Newlat Food

MILAN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Milan-listed Newlat Food said on Monday it had made a non-binding offer for Hovis, the 134-year old British bread maker, which is owned by Premier Foods and The Gores Group.

Buying Hovis, one of Britain’s best known bread brands, would allow Newlat to expand its consolidated turnover to 1 billion euros ($1.18 billion), the Italian group said.

Newlat, which makes bakery, dairy and baby food products, said an acquisition of Hovis could create cross-selling opportunities by using the British company’s production and distribution network.

The Italian company, which also makes products with the Buitoni brand under a licensing deal with Nestle, said it planned to increase its exposure to the British market.

Newlat also said it was awaiting feedback from Hovis shareholders.

Hovis declined to comment.

One source close to the matter had told Reuters on Sunday that Newlat was interested in Hovis, and said the company was prepared to spend around 100 million pounds ($129.78 million) to buy the bread maker.

This source also said there were others interested in Hovis, including private equity funds.

Newlat said it had submitted its offer “in the context of a non-exclusive competitive auction.”

$1 = 0.8483 euros $1 = 0.7705 pounds Reporting by Francesca Landini. Editing by Jane Merriman

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