Cranswick PLC (LON:CWK) is in talks about expanding its operations from sausages, bacon and chicken into dog and cat food via acquisition.
The FTSE 250 company today confirmed that it is trying to potentially collar a deal for Inspired Pet Nutrition Ltd, the maker of the Harrington and Wagg pet food brands.
READ: Cranswick sizzles as demand for sausages and bacon soars during lockdown
If the acquisition is tied up successfully, the Hull-headquartered meat producer said its current intention is to part-finance a deal for the Thirsk-based, family-run pet food manufacturer with a share issue that would represent less than 10% of its current GBP1.85bn share capital.
There is no certainty currently that the acquisition will go ahead, the company growled.
Pet food is thought of as a recession-proof industry and has been a growing market in 2020, with around 41% of UK households owning a furry friend, though Cranswick exited the sector in 2009 with the sale of its Pet Products arm.
The shares were little moved at 3,502p on the news.
Analysts at broker Peel Hunt said the price tag is likely to be over GBP200mln in what would be a competitive auction process.
“Cranswick used to be in pet products, so this is not an unknown area. We like this space as the humanisation of pets is driving sales of premium pet foods and the pandemic has driven an increased desire for pet ownership,” they added.