Princes to be acquired for £700m by Italian food group

Princes Group range

Liverpool-headquartered international food and drink group Princes is to be acquired by Italian based group Newlat Food S.p.A from Mitsubishi Corporation for £700m.

Princes Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Simon Harrison, described the deal as “an exciting prospect for Princes,” and said he was pleased that Newlat “shared our confidence in the Group’s strategic growth plans, brand strategy, operational excellence and people culture.”

Princes was originally founded in Liverpool in 1880 as Simpson & Roberts.

It manufactures and sources products and from its head office in Liverpool has dedicated sales and marketing offices in Poland, tuna processing facilities in Mauritius, tomato processing in Italy and edible oils production in Poland.

The buyer, Newlat, is listed on Milan Stock Exchange and on completion of the intended acquisition will become ‘New Princes Group’. Princes Limited will retain its identity and operate as a UK-based subsidiary of the New Princes Group and have a global operating network of 31 factories and a diversified portfolio across 10 distinct categories.

Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi bought Princes in 1989, and reported in 2023 that they had hired Houlihan Lokey to oversee a sale of the £1.435bn-turnover business based in the Royal Liver Building.

Princes’ portfolio of licenced and owned brands includes Branston, Batchelors’, Flora, Olivio, Crisp ‘n’ Dry, Jucee and Princes itself.

Customers include major supermarkets, convenience stores, foodservice operators, wholesale suppliers and other food manufacturers.

Its brands and products span more than 20 different categories including fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, soups, pastes, pasta, cooking sauces, edible oils and a broad range of soft drinks sectors.

Combining these two large, complementary businesses, will create a major player in the European food industry with a revenue of c.€2.8 billion and an adjusted EBITDA of c.€190 million. 

Management aims to increase turnover to €5 billion by 2030 and grow profits “through a combination of cost and structural synergies”.

Completion of the deal will be subject to approval by the Dutch Works Council of Princes and a number of customary regulatory approvals, finalisation of the Group’s audited accounts and consultation with the European Works Council. 


Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...