United Biscuits has dismissed rumors that former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy is heading a bid to buy its KP Snacks arm but confirmed to BakeryandSnacks.com that an eventual market sale is inevitable.
Yesterday Sky News reported that the former boss of Tesco is spearheading a takeover bid of the savory snacks division. Fox Business also reported last month that German firm Intersnack was exploring an offer.
Reports suggest that bidding will commence next week.
United Biscuits (UB) split its biscuit and salty snacks business back in August and bought in new management for KP Snacks – Nick Bunker – ex Kraft UK president, fuelling sales rumors further.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com, Keren McCarron, corporate communications manager at UB, said: “Regarding the various reports speculating on the sale of the business, this is still purely speculation and we are still not commenting on it.”
Sale eventually on the horizon?
United Biscuits will be sold at some point, she said. “We are private equity owned, so obviously at some point that is going to happen.” But McCarron refused to go into any details on when this might happen.
Private equity owners Blackstone Group LP and PAI Partners previously failed in a bid to sell the business in its entirety to Chinese giant Bright Foods back in 2010. No sale attempt has been made since.
Leahy is senior adviser at private equity group Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R). In the latest Sky News ‘speculation’, CD&R is expected to submit initial offers of around £500m ($809.5m) for KP Snacks.
Other names on the speculative list include Asian firms - Wahaha, Orion and Lotte – as well as US giant Kellogg.