UPDATE 2-Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods to review its businesses

* Chief executive left last month

* Premier has stable of familiar food products

* Dropped plan to sell Ambrosia brand (Adds details on board changes, background)

By Justin George Varghese

Feb 27 (Reuters) – Britain’s Premier Foods Plc, the maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy, said on Wednesday it would review options to boost shareholder value following talks with its top investors.

The review comes as Premier looks for a permanent chief executive after former boss Gavin Darby left at the end of January. He was under shareholder pressure following a share price decline after a takeover attempt fell through almost three years ago.

Premier also said that Daniel Wosner of Oasis Management Co Ltd, its second-largest shareholder, and Orkun Kilic of Paulson & Co Inc, the third-largest, would become non-executive directors of the board.

Oasis has an 12.05 percent stake, while Paulson & Co holds 12.04 percent in the company. Japan’s Nissin Foods is the largest shareholder with a stake of 19.5 percent.

Premier had tried to sell its Ambrosia rice pudding and custards brand, but scrapped the plan earlier in February, citing a tough business climate to do a deal.

Shares in Premier — which have lost nearly a third since U.S. food maker McCormick & Co Inc abandoned a takeover approach in April 2016 — were up 1.2 percent at 37.6 pence.

A spokesman for the company, which currently has a market capitalization of 308.7 million pounds ($411 million) according to Refinitiv data, said the company will not be commenting further on any more details on the scope of the review.

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The company has been cutting costs as part of a two-year plan launched in 2017 by laying off people and streamlining its warehousing and distribution network.

The packaged food sector has been under pressure from retailers who want lower prices and a generation of new start-up brands often seen as fresher. Premier’s portfolio includes a lot of brands such as Angel Delight which have fallen out of favour with health-conscious consumers.

Darby, who led the company from 2013, announced his resignation in November after drawing investor flak for failing to revive the business after rebuffing the takeover approach.

The company is currently being led by finance chief Alastair Murray. The company said then that the search process for Darby’s successor was under way. (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Keith Weir)



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