Seabrook CEO Bye led buy-out of business

Seabrook CEO Bye led buy-out of business

  • Seabrook CEO Jonathan Bye leads buy-out
  • Current shareholder Ken Brook-Chrispin to leave business
  • LDC's food investments include Ministry of Cake

Private-equity firm LDC has taken a majority stake in Seabrook Crisps as part of a management buy-out of the UK crisp firm.

Seabrook chief executive Jonathan Bye is part of a management team that led the buyout. The deal, struck for an undisclosed sum, will see chairman Ken Brook-Chrispin leave the business. Brook-Chrispin, son-in-law of the son of the company's founder, led a buyout of other family shareholders in 2006. The transaction follows a move in February to appoint corporate finance advisor McQueen to explore "all strategic options" for the company.

Bye, who joined the business in 2012, said: "LDC's support for the MBO of Seabrook Crisps is great news and will help us to not only deliver but accelerate our growth plan. It will enable us to invest both in our operations to drive further efficiencies and flexibility and to increase marketing investment to continue to build the brand’s national profile."

Citing Nielsen MAT data for the period to 20 June, Seabrook said the business had a "retail sales value" of GBP33m. It claimed it is growing "year-on-year by 14.5% and continues to consistently outperform the overall UK crisp market, which has grown at 4.2 per cent CAGR since 2007".

LDC, which is part of the Lloyds Banking Group is adding Seabrook to a consumer portfolio that includes UK foodservice supplier Ministry of Cake. It backed a management buy-out of the business last year.

Dale Alderson, LDC's investment director, said: "Seabrook has set its sights firmly on accelerating its growth plans and taking further share in Europe’s largest crisp market. Our financial, strategic and operational support will bolster a proven and skilled management team, which has already driven impressive growth in the business."

LDC director Ged Gould and Simon Braham, another investment director at the private-equity firm, will join the management team on the board of Seabrook. A chairman will be appointed shortly. As a result of the deal, non-executive director Julian Kynaston will leave the business.