EASTWOOD, Rotherham -- A half dozen potential buyers—including Kellogg’s and Kraft in the United States—were among those asked to consider acquiring the United Kingdom’s United Biscuits’ $816-million snack business.
Eastwood, Rotherham-based KP Snacks, which owns U.K. household brands such as McCoy’s, Hula Hoops, KP Nuts and Skips, is being put up for sale by its private-equity owners, Blackstone and PAI, according to a report in The Telegraph. The pair, being advised by Credit Suisse, have sent a four-page sales “teaser” to half a dozen potential buyers, the newspaper reported
Chinese company Wahaha, run by the country’s third richest man, is in pole position to buy the snack business.
The teaser was also sent to cereal-maker Kellogg’s, which recently paid $2.7 billion for Pringles; Kraft, where KP’s new chief executive formerly worked; and a series of private-equity firms, the newspaper reported. The final Information Memorandum will be sent out on Sept. 3.
It is not the first time that United Biscuits, home to Jaffa Cakes and Penguin chocolate bars, has been close to doing a deal with the Chinese. In 2010, Blackstone and PAI were in the final stages of a sale to Bright Foods, one of China’s biggest food groups, according to the newspaper.
However, the sale broke down, with sources blaming the structure and financing of Bright Foods, which is owned by the Shanghai Municipal Government. Since then, Bright Foods has bought Weetabix, but it is unlikely to also be interested in another major acquisition so close to the elections of Chinese management, which happen once a decade.
However, its much larger rival Wahaha is understood to have approached United Biscuits’ owners about making an offer for KP Snacks.