Diary was interested in reports overnight that the mooted IPO or sale of Bread Holdings, the owner of Gail’s Bakery, the Luke-Johnson chaired group, had been postponed. The reason being given is the uncertainty over the UK leaving the European Union. Diary has a stab at thinking of some other reasons.
A report from the Press Association states that the auction process was expected to get under way this year but plans have been halted until after the UK leaves the European Union. The report also goes on to state that the possibility of Patisserie Holdings acquiring the business was never seriously discussed.
This time last year, advisers at KPMG were reportedly brought in to explore an exit from Gail’s for Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners, and at that time Patisserie Holdings, of course also chaired by Johnson, was very much seen as a possible front runner for the business, which has been valued at between £150m-£200m. Now as we know, a lot has changed over the last year, and especially to Patisserie Holdings in the last 10 days, so to say that Brexit is the reason for the process for Gail’s being delayed has left Diary slightly bemused.
First, Diary understands that talks on a sale of the business was ongoing up until this summer, with Groupe Le Duff, the French restaurant conglomerate, which comprises more than 1,310 restaurants and bakeries, believed to have shown a strong interest in the company, before the possibility of an IPO was again mooted. Speculation arose that a downturn in trading across Bread Holding’s wholesale business cooled suitors interest in the business, although trade has now thought to have come back.
However, could it be the latest delay is not due to Brexit, but more to do with the current problems faced by Patisserie Holdings and that Gail’s chances of a float could be hampered by association?