Wirral businessman Peter Johnson has effectively put up for sale the Birkenhead-based company that he founded as a food hamper firm.

Majority shareholder and chairman Mr Johnson has told the board of Birkenhead-based Park Group plc that he is "exploring options with regard to his shareholding in the company."

Shareholders have been told in a letter signed by Mr Johnson: "Were this to result in the sale of a large element of his (Mr Johnson's) shareholding, this could lead to an offer for the entire issued share capital of Park."

Mr Johnson, who is also the owner of Tranmere Rovers Football Club, holds about 74% of the ordinary equity.

He founded the then Park Hamper Company in 1967 as a Christmas hamper business as part of his family's butchery chain. In 1969, Park Hamper Company was incorporated and the business grew into a major player in the weekly cash savings business.

Today, the company, whose headquarters are in Valley Road, has a market captitalisation of just under £50m.

AIB Corporate Finance Ltd has been appointed as financial advisor to Mr Johnson and the 1989 Peter Johnson Settlement Trust.

N.M. Rothschild is advising the board of the company with regard to the interests of third-party shareholders.