Mitsubishi-owned UK-based food and drink group Princes is likely to be sold for more than £400 million as a bidding battle between three global investment firms heats up, state recent reports, naming private equity firm Lone Star Funds as one of the bidders.
Lone Star, along with other financial investors including Epiris and Aurelius, are interested in buying Princes Foods, the company behind some of Britain’s most popular tinned foods, Sky News reported today (29), adding Newlat, the Italian food group, and One Rock Capital Partners, another financial investor, also in this list.
This is the latest attempt by Mitsubishi Corporation, the giant Japanese conglomerate which owns Princes, to offload the company. Earlier in July, Mitsubishi has paused its sale of Princes, but it clearly it remains determined to unload the Liverpool.
The Japanese conglomerate put Princes on the market earlier this year after its sales declined from £1.56bin 2021 to £1.44b for the 12 months ending in March 2022. Sales dropped even further for the 12 months ending in March 2023 due to a post-Covid drop in consumption exacerbated by an ongoing global inflationary cycle.
However, the bids for Princes came in no higher than £400 million, much lower than Mitsubishi’s own valuation of the holding at £600 million.
Mitsubishi acquired Liverpool-based Princes in 1989. At that time, Princes focused on the import and distribution of shelf-stable food. The company’s product range now also includes edible oils and beverages. About 20 percent of Princes total sales are seafood-related, including canned tuna and salmon and tinned seafood as well as a range of soft drinks.