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
Brunswick was brought in last week to handle investor, analyst and media
relations on the bid alongside Candover’s retainer-based agency, GCI
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
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.