Blog: UB snack sale attracts more than usual suspects
Katy Askew | 12 October 2012
As the private equity owners of United Biscuits continue with the sale of the salty snacks arm of the business the process appears to have thrown up a few surprise bidders.
Back in March, Blackstone and PAI Partners revealed their plans to split UB in two and sell off the savoury snack unit, which houses brands such as KP and Hula Hoops. At the time, just-food took a look at who some of the main contenders were likely to be.
With a number of powerhouse brands and good distribution in the UK, it is clear that a number of strategic buyers have been attracted to the sale. The likes of Germany's Intersnack and Kellogg have been pipped as among the front runners.
However, it is the private equity sector that has made most headlines, with some surprise contenders emerging from among the ranks. A reported bid from Clayton Dubilier & Rice, a private equity firm advised by Sir Terry Leahy of former-Tesco fame got tongues wagging. And today (12 October), Sky news reported that Verlinvest - whose founder was Frederic de Mevius, a veteran of the Interbrew boardroom - was among those who tabled indicative offers over the past week.
Over the years, Verlinvest has backed a number of major consumer brands, including Glaceau Vitaminwater and Remy-Cointreau. Verlinvest was also a long-term shareholder in Interbrew, which is now part of AB-Inbev, the world's largest brewer.
Regardless of who is rumoured to have tabled bids, Blackstone and PAI are keeping mum on the subject. But, with the deadline for bids to be submitted passed, it is likely that some form of announcement is pending.
That politicians are selective with the truth is pretty much a given. But it did make this pundit chuckle to hear UK Chancellor George Osborne describe United Biscuits as a "great British company"... ...
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