UB not up for sale - sources

UB not up for sale - sources

The private-equity owners of United Biscuits are not preparing for an imminent sale of the UK biscuit group, industry sources have indicated.

Reports have suggested Chinese investment firm Hony Capital and an unnamed strategic partner have approached PAI Partners and Blackstone Group with an offer for United Biscuits. However, sources close to the situation have refuted the suggestion that the McVitie's maker is on the block.

Blackstone and PAI declined to comment while Hony was unavailable for immediate comment.

Rumours of a possible sale of United Biscuits have circulated periodically since Blackstone and PAI failed to sell the business as a going concern in 2010. In 2012, the private-equity investors split United Biscuits into two units - salty snacks and sweet biscuits. The salty snacks business was then sold to Germany's Intersnack.

Since then, United Biscuits has pursued a strategy of expanding in emerging markets - notably entering the Middle East - while cutting costs and shedding jobs.