Pioneer Foods Group’s share price fell 7% to R164 after it said a possible deal announced on March 7 had been called off.

It recovered to trade 3.8% lower at R170 at 9:30am.

Zeder also withdrew cautionary announcements it had issued in tandem with Pioneer's.

An earlier version of this story speculated that Zeder was an acquisition target, but Pioneer said this was not the case. Zeder's cautionary announcements merely reflected that its 27% stake in Pioneer made up a large portion of total holdings.

"Shareholders are hereby advised that, due to the recent sovereign debt rating downgrades in SA and the potential for additional downgrades, the parties have decided to discontinue negotiations at this time," Pioneer said.

While Rhodes Foods and Famous Brands have been gobbling up smaller food companies, Pioneer’s only recent acquisition was a 49.89% stake in Weetabix East Africa for an undisclosed amount.


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