The new owner of snowball maker Lees Foods has agreed to a £143.4 million takeover offer that includes Scottish bakeries employing more than 1,400 people.

Directors at AIM-listed Finsbury Food have agreed to be taken into private ownership by Isle of Man asset management firm DBAY Advisors. Investors will receive 110p for each FInsbury share held, a premium of almost 24% to yesterday's 89p closing price.

Finsbury announced the £5.7m acquisition of Coatbridge-based Lees in January of this year. Established in 1931, Lees employs more than 200 people in North Lanarkshire making the Scottish brand's signature meringues, teacakes and snowballs.

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Finsbury also owns Lightbody, with approximately 1,100 employees in Hamilton, and Johnstone's in East Kilbride, which has more than 120 members of staff.

Headquartered in Cardiff, Finsbury has offices and manufacturing sites in Wales, England, Scotland, Poland and France supplying cakes and bakery goods to most of the biggest names in the grocery retail and food service sectors. It currently employs about 3,000 people.

DBAY, which has held shares in Finsbury since August of last year, said it believes the bakery group's AIM listing is holding it back from growth opportunities.

“We have been supportive shareholders of the business for over a year and have been impressed with the management team during our ownership, but we strongly believe Finsbury would benefit from transformational M&A including international expansion and this would be better achieved in private ownership without the barrier of the current listing," DBAY chief executive Alexander Paiusco said.

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“We look forward to working with Finsbury’s management and employees to accelerate Finsbury’s strategy and unlock the long-term value in Finsbury for all stakeholders.”

Finsbury chairman Peter Baker added: “For the next phase of the Finsbury Group’s development the business will need to pursue strategic, transformational M&A to achieve the scale required to be successful in an increasingly competitive and demanding market place.

“I am confident that Finsbury will thrive under DBAY’s stewardship in the private market, with access to DBAY’s investment and operational support to pursue the current strategy of scaling Finsbury’s buy-and-build M&A in the future.”