"Chicken King" Ranjit Boparan gobbles up turkey business Bernard Matthews

William Turvill
Follow William
Poultry Placed Indoors Due To Deadly H5N1 Virus
Bernard Matthews was founded in May 1950 by an insurance clerk (Source: Getty)

Ranjit Boparan has this evening completed the takeover of turkey producer Bernard Matthews.

Boparan, who has earned the name “Chicken King”, also confirmed in a statement that 2,000 jobs at Europe’s largest turkey company will be retained.

It first emerged that Bernard Matthews’ private equity owner, Rutland Partners, was seeking to sell the company in June.

Read more: Influential MP calls for pensions probe into sale of turkey business

Boparan’s 2SistersFood group, which is known for its chicken processing business, also owns Fox’s biscuits, Goodfella’s and Donegal Catch.

“This acquisition will create a strong platform for future growth and ensures Bernard Matthews is well positioned to develop into a sustainable, growing business,” said a spokesman for Boparan’s private office.

“We intend to respect and build on the 66-year heritage of a much-loved British brand and crucially help to deliver Christmas 2016, which would have been at risk without our intervention. We have a proven track record in turning around businesses and we aim to make Bernard Matthews great again.

“This deal is ultimately good news for UK consumers and our customers, who will benefit from a secure supply of British turkey from one of the most recognisable brands in the UK.”

Read more: Turkey producer on the hunt for bootiful new owner

Last night, Labour MP Frank Field, who chairs the Work and Pensions Select Committee, called for the Pensions Regulator to probe the deal. He fears Bernard Matthews’ retirement scheme absorbed by industry-funded lifeboat, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

Named after its founder, Bernard Matthews was founded in May 1950 by an insurance clerk who set up with 20 eggs and a second-hand incubator. Twelve turkeys hatched, and he sold them on to a farmer for around £9 in today’s money.