Just a few weeks after Unilever sold its Ambrosia creamed rice brand, another iconic British food brand has changed hands.
Weetabix, the family-owned company best-known for its breakfast cereal brands, has been bought by US-based private equity firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst - the same company which bought Ambrosia.
Hicks, Muse has acquired Weetabix through Latimer Acquisitions, a company set up for that sole purpose, for £642 million. Weetabix is the UK's second largest cereal maker after Kellogg, producing such well-known brands as Weetabix, Alpen and Ready Brek.
Sir Richard George, chairman of Weetabix, said that the combination of Weetabix with Premier Foods, the existing UK business of Hicks, Muse, would give further impetus to both companies' brands.
"Weetabix and Premier Foods' existing businesses coming under joint ownership will create a leading ambient food group in the UK and enable us to accelerate the growth of the business and to realise the full potential of our brands," he said.
Lyndon Lea, a partner in Hicks, Muse and a director of Latimer, said: "We are delighted with the opportunity to acquire Weetabix. This transaction continues our initiative of a focused investment strategy in the food manufacturing sector. We are keen to support the continued development of these iconic brands respecting their heritage and enabling Weetabix and its employees to thrive under our ownership."
As well as Weetabix and Ambrosia, Premier Foods also owns several other ambient food brands which are staples of many UK consumers' diets. These include Branston Pickle, Gales Honey, Hartley's jam Crosse & Blackwell and HP sauces, Sun Pat peanut butter and Typhoo tea.
Weetabix may be a British favourite, but it is also increasingly well known around the world. Its products are sold in 80 countries worldwide, and has manufacturing facilities in the US, Canada and South Africa, as well as the UK.