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Big Brands > KP Snacks

United Biscuits break-up denied, source

By Helen Glaberson , 16-Aug-2011
Last updated on 16-Aug-2011 at 17:51 GMT

Reports about the imminent break-up of United Biscuits (UB) are not true, said an industry source.

According to reports by The Sunday Times, UB’s joint owners are planning to split the company’s snack and crisps division in an attempt to revive a sale of the UK manufacturer.

However a source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told BakeryandSnacks.com that a possible divide of the company was soon to follow.

The Sunday Times said US investment firm Blackstone and French buyout specialist PAI Partners had appointed Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, to oversee a sell-off.

In 2006 the firms bought UB for £1.6bn.

The publication said talks over a sale were likely to begin before the end of the year.

Failed attempt

Attempts to sell the company failed last year when a solid bid from Chinese manufacturer Bright Foods did not come through.

Blackstone and PAI considered a sale of the business last summer, however the Chinese state-backed, Bright Food pre-empted an auction by offering up to £2.5bn for exclusive talks.

Negotiations crumbled however when Bright Foods failed to match its high initial offer, a source said.

In July 2010, in anticipation of a speculated UB auction, Chris Brockman, market intelligence manager at Leatherhead Food Research, said one option for Blackstone and PAI Partners would be to break up the company and to sell off its biscuit and snack divisions separately.

“It would be feasible to split the biscuit business which is quite international (McVities plus the European biscuit brands such as Delacre, BN, Verkade) from the more UK orientated snack business (McCoys, KP, Hula Hoops),” Brockman told this publication.

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