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©Jeff Morgan/Alamy

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Hovis-to-Mr Kipling firm RHM today backed a £1.2 billion takeover by Branston Pickle owner Premier Foods.
The proposed tie-up will create a business with annual sales of around £2.6 billion - almost all of which will be in the UK.
Premier Foods' other brands include Hartley's, Angel Delight and Quorn, while RHM is also known for Paxo, Bisto and Sharwoods.
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Premier, which focuses on the grocery and food product segments, said the deal strengthened its relationship with the major UK food retailers.
It added that there would be £85 million of annual savings and benefits from integrating the two businesses, but did not detail the impact on jobs.
Premier said it would combine RHM's culinary brands and cake divisions into its grocery operation, while keeping RHM's breads business as a separate arm.
RHM employs more than 15,000 people at 50 locations in the UK and France, while the business generated sales in excess of £1.5 billion last year. St Albans-based Premier has around 3,000 staff and sales of £790 million in 2005.
Photograph by Jason Bye
Credit Mandatory
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Jonathan Guthrie Jonathan Guthrie is the City editor of the FT. He writes and edits Lombard, the column that dissects the big deals and bigger personalities dominating London’s financial centre. A popular read with senior City executives, Lombard blends analysis with humour. A veteran observer of British business, Jonathan has been an FT columnist since 2003, an FT staff member since 1993 and started as a capital markets writer in 1987.

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Kate Burgess

Kate Burgess is the FT's Small Talk columnist and Corporate Correspondent. She has worked at the FT for nearly 20 years in various roles, most recently as investment correspondent. Before the FT she worked as a stock broker.

E-mail Kate Burgess