Candover hires Brunswick for Hillsdown takeover bid

Venture capitalist Candover, which is engaged in an increasingly bitter battle for food manufacturer Hillsdown Holdings, has hired Brunswick to promote its bidding vehicle, Firstmark Products, among city audiences.

Venture capitalist Candover, which is engaged in an increasingly

bitter battle for food manufacturer Hillsdown Holdings, has hired

Brunswick to promote its bidding vehicle, Firstmark Products, among city

audiences.



Brunswick was brought in last week to handle investor, analyst and media

relations on the bid alongside Candover’s retainer-based agency, GCI

Focus.



Candover’s rival in the contest for Hillsdown is Hicks, Muse, Tate and

Furst, a US venture capital firm, which has employed Penrose since last

October.



This is the first time Brunswick has worked for Candover. GCI chief

executive Rupert Ashe emphasised that it was not unusual for

Candover-backed bid teams to appoint their own advisers.



Hicks Muse initially bid for Hillsdown, which makes Chivers marmalade,

Hartley jams and Typhoo tea, at 127 pence per share two weeks ago. It

then upped its bid to 141 pence per share amid speculation that Candover

would enter the market.



Candover then counterbid through Firstmark at 145 pence per share last

week. Speculation was rife that Hicks Muse would trump Candover’s price

as PR Week went to press.



If Firstmark wins the acquisition battle, Hillsdown’s chief executive

and his management team would stay in place.



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