Italy's Newlat seeks exclusivity to resume talks to buy Hovis

FILE PHOTO: Loaves of Hovis bread are pictured on the shelves of a supermarket in Manchester, Britain, November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian food group Newlat Food NWLF.MI said on Wednesday it would ditch plans to acquire British bread maker Hovis unless it were granted an exclusive negotiation period to "quickly" finalise an accord.

Milan-listed Newlat last month said it had made a non-binding offer for 134-year old Hovis, which is owned by Premier Foods PFD.L and The Gores Group.

Newlat said in a statement that it was still interested in the acquisition but it had informed Hovis’ shareholders that it did not intend to join in a competitive tender.

“The negotiation will be resumed only in the event that the shareholders of Hovis grant, on the basis of the non-binding offer, an exclusive negotiation period to Newlat Food,” it said.

Newlat was prepared to spend around 100 million pounds to buy Hovis, a source close to the matter had told Reuters.

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; editing by Valentina Za