NOMAD Holdings Ltd, which recently acquired Iglo, the owners of Birds Eye Frozen Foods in the UK, is reported to be in talks with Findus.
But any deal is unlikely to include Grimsby based Young’s Seafood, concentrating instead on Findus’s European operations.
This could mean that Young’s , which employs around 1,800 people in the Grimsby area and a further 1,000 plus in Scotland, could be spun off into a separate business with a London Stock Market listing.
Findus chief executive James Hill has already hinted that this is a possibility. Any deal which included Birds Eye and Young’s under one roof, both dominant in seafood, would almost certainly attract the attention of the Competition Commission.
Nomad Holdings, which is UK based but is owned by two American entrepreneurs, Martin E Franklin and Noam Gottesman, confirmed to the US business news organisations Bloomberg and later the Financial Times that it was in talks with Findus.
The two men have already declared their intention to create a consumer giant, largely based on food.
Six weeks ago they paid £1.9 billion (2.6 billion euros) for the Iglo Group, which bought Birds Eye several years ago. That sale was confirmed this week. There had been speculation that Nomad may go for Findus, but few thought it would be this soon.
Away from seafood, Findus is best known for its crispy pancakes – ironically first produced at its former Grimsby area factory in the 1970s – along with a wide range of frozen meals. Findus came to Grimsby in the 1960s, but completely pulled out two decades later.
Nomad said, ‘There can be no certainty that these discussions will result in a transaction’, adding that it will provide further updates as necessary.