UB begins search for snacks business buyer

Representatives from United Biscuits’ (UB) snacks business have talked to a handful of potential buyers, according to the latest reports.

As revealed in The Telegraph, US private equity group Blackstone and French buy-out firm PAI Partners, who are being advised by Credit Suisse, have sent a four-page sales document to around half a dozen firms interested in UB’s recently renamed KP Snacks business worth £520m.

This includes Chinese beverage business Wahaha, which is valued at more than £8bn and was founded by Zong Qinghou, the country’s third richest man. Other interested parties are believed to be Kellogg’s, which purchased the Pringles crisp brand from Procter & Gamble back in February for around £1.7bn.

A final Information Memorandum is due to be issued on 3 September. A UB spokesperson told British Baker that it could not confirm the names of any other businesses that had been approached as part of the move and said the firm was currently in the process of finding a suitable buyer.

As part of UB’s decision to separate its snacks business, announced earlier this month, the firm said it would be hiring Nick Bunker as the new chief executive of KP Snacks, who will join the business on 1 September. His current position is president of Kraft Foods UK and Ireland.

In a statement published on UB’s corporate website, it said: “The snacks business is the second-largest bagged snack company in the UK and has shown consistent top- and bottom-line growth for the past five years. This product category remains dynamic, currently growing at 6% per annum and the UB board sees substantial growth opportunities both in the UK and internationally. The new CEO, together with the recently appointed dedicated management team, will provide the focus to move this business to its next level.”

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