A HANDFUL of bidders have been ushered into the second round of Inghams Enterprises sale, as owner Bob Ingham tries to sell the family farm in time for Christmas.
The Australian Financial Review reports a couple of private equity firms and at least one trade buyer have been taken through to the second stage of due diligence, after indicative bids were filed last week.
While there seems to be significantly more private equity firms, trade buyers and advisers on the outside of this deal than inside, Blackstone Group and Thailand-headquartered CP Foods are the most likely suitors to be still in the process.
Second-round bidders will be given about six weeks for due diligence including management presentations, site visits and access to a data room.
It means final offers are expected in early December, while Inghams is hopeful of an agreed deal soon after.
It will be interesting to see whether Affinity Equity Partners is still involved.
Affinity, which owns Inghams' New Zealand rival Tegel Foods, had been foxing leading into the indicative bid date. If they have made it through to the second round, they have yet to reveal themselves to some big lenders in the market.
Poultry-feed maker Cargill is another mentioned as a participant, and it does have a small poultry meat business in Asia, but it is understood Cargill ruled itself out after a brief look ahead of the formal process.
Bob Ingham is believed to be seeking more than seven times earnings for the company. Based on forecast EBITDA of $210 million, that would imply a price tag of up to $1.5 billion.
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