Potential buyers are fattening up their offers for Unilever's spread decision by buttering up former executives of the consumer goods company to join their bids.
Former head of the unit Sean Gogarty has been enticed to join the Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners attempt to buy the business, Sky News reported today.
Meanwhile James Hill, an ex-troubleshooter for Unilever, has been added to the team putting together an offer from Bain Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice.
The auction for the spreads division, which includes the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and Flora brands has been gathering pace in the past few months, with the addition of the cream of the Unilever alumni crop just the latest attempt to ensure a smooth takeover.
The sale process began after Unilever was approached by Kraft Heinz with an unsolicited takeover offer, and has attracted interest from a range of quarters.
Archer Daniels Midland was the latest to elbow in on the sale, while buyout firm KKR is also reportedly considering an offer, with the backing of the Singaporean state's Government Investment Corporation.
Sources have previously told City A.M. that while there is strong interest from private equity houses, the hefty price tag would likely be too large for one firm to commit alone.
Unilever is reported to be asking for £6bn, meaning many bidders have formed consortiums.