Burton’s Biscuit Company has been sold to a Canadian pension scheme for a sum believed to be in the region of £350m.
Burton’s said that “the sale process attracted interest from multiple high-quality bidders, including from a number of private equity houses and trade companies”. However, it finally opted for Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), which has $129.5bn in net assets.
Other bidders for the company are understood to include private equity firms Apax, Warburg Pincus and Clayton Dubilier & Rice – which also owns a substantial stake in Liverpool retailer B&M Bargains.
The sale is expected to be completed this month.
Under the terms of the agreement, OTPP will acquire the business as a whole, including all of Burton’s brands, all of the rights under Burton’s Cadbury licence and Burton’s manufacturing sites in Blackpool, Edinburgh and Llantarnam, along with its chocolate refinery in Moreton.
Burton’s will also continue to be led by its existing management team, under chief executive Ben Clarke, and operate under its existing name from its current head office in St Albans.
Credit Suisse were lead financial advisers to Burton’s, with Linklaters acting as legal advisor.
Clarke said: “We are delighted that OTPP will shortly acquire Burton’s Biscuit Company. During this process we have met with over 30 different potential buyers and, as significant co-investors going forward, it was critical for the management team to find the right partner.
“With their combination of extraordinary financial firepower, true partnership approach and global expertise, it is clear to me that OTPP are the ideal partner for us. We are very excited about working with Jo Taylor and his team as we pursue our ambitious plans for growth both in the UK and internationally.”
Jo Taylor, head of OTPP’s London office, added: “We look forward to supporting Burton’s outstanding management team to grow the business in the UK and further into overseas markets. There are also many strategic acquisitions to consider in those territories that can enhance these ambitious growth plans.
“With its portfolio of iconic brands, Burton’s is set to lead the premium biscuit market for some time to come and use product innovation to appeal to consumers looking for delicious treats and snacks inside and outside the home.”
OTPP’s other investments include Camelot, owner of the National Lottery, which was bought in 2010.
Burton’s employs 2,200 people across the UK, with manufacturing sites in Edinburgh, Blackpool and South Wales.