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June 21, 2024
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City snapshot: Bakkavor major shareholder Baupost sells stake to US PE firm | News


Workers enter the Bakkavor Pizza production site in Harrow  GMB London Region 2100x1400

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Bakkavor has revealed major shareholder Baupost has sold its entire 20.1% stake in the listed prepared food manufacturer to US private equity firm Long Range Capital.

The move sees board member Patrick Cook, who was Baupost’s nominated representative, step down and Robert Berlin of Long Range taking his place.

US-headquartered hedge fund Baupost teamed up with the Gudmundsson brothers in 2016 to retake control of Bakkavor, buying out the group’s Icelandic banking shareholders. Bakkavor floated on the London Stock Exchange the following year.

This morning, Bakkavor announced Baupost had sold its entire shareholding of more than 116 million shares – representing a 20.1% stake in the group – to Long Range.

Founded in 2019, Long Range is based in Connecticut and has more than $1.7bn in assets under management.

Bakkavor chairman Simon Burke wished Baupost well and said the hedge fund had been “a supportive shareholder” over many years.

“Patrick Cook was a very positive addition to our board, giving us insight, good challenge and constructive debate,” he added. “I would like to thank him for this on behalf of us all and wish him every success in the future.”

Cook’s replacement, Berlin, previously served on the Bakkavor board from January 2016 to July 2018.

He is a senior investment professional with experience across the consumer goods, food, manufacturing, technology and services sectors.

“I am delighted to welcome back Bob Berlin,” Burke said. “He knows us and our markets very well, and I look forward to the board having the benefit of his knowledge and energy once again.”

CEO Mike Edwards added: “I would like to extend a warm welcome to Bob Berlin, who rejoins our board representing Long Range. He has a deep understanding of our business as well as our markets and his experience will be invaluable as we continue to build positive momentum and deliver our strategic ambition.”

Shares in Bakkavor jumped 5.1% to 89.4p as markets opened this morning.

Morning update

PZ Cussons has appointed Vivek Ahuja to the board as a non-executive director, starting on 1 May.

He will chair the audit & risk committee following the resignation of Jeremy Townsend, announced on 1 December 2023.

Ahuja has more than 30 years’ experience in global finance and is currently a non-executive and chair of the risk committee of NatWest Markets plc. He is also an independent member of Council of King’s College London and most recently was CEO of PE firm Terra Firma Capital Partners.

PZ Cussons chairman David Tyler said: “On behalf of the board, I am delighted to announce Vivek’s appointment. He has a wealth of invaluable international experience in senior general management and senior financial roles, and I am sure that he will make a significant contribution to the board and the business over the years ahead.”

The FTSE 100 is down 0.1% to 7,619.48pts this morning.

Early risers in fmcg alongside Bakkavor include Glanbia, up 7.5% to €15.26, Naked Wines, up 4.5% to 55.4p, and Nichols, up 2.9% to 1,178p.

Just Eat Takeaway is down 6% to 1,162.3p ahead of this week’s trading update, while Ocado is also down 2.2% to 637.8p ahead of tomorrow’s quarterly results.

This week in the City

Most of the big fmcg Christmas trading updates happened last week but there is plenty going on in the week ahead.

The big news for UK grocery comes tomorrow in the shape of fourth quarter results from Ocado.

Wednesday sees an Q4 update from Just Eat Takeaway, with rival Deliveroo scheduled to follow up with an update on Friday.

Bakkavor will issue a full-year trading statement on Thursday, while Poundland owner Pepco puts out Q1 figures and C&C Group will update the markets.

The latest UK inflation figures are due out on Wednesday and the ONS retail sales data for December is also out on Friday.





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