Fresh speculation over the future of Foxs

Fresh speculation over the future of Fox's

Boparan Holdings has reportedly started talks with fellow UK group Burton's Biscuit Co. over the possible sale of Fox's Biscuits.

Reuters today (17 February) reported two unnamed sources saying discussions were at an early stage.

The report is the latest speculation over the future of Fox's. Just before Christmas, The Wall Street Journal reported investment bank Rothschild had started contacting potential buyers for the business on behalf of Boparan Holdings. Last month, just-food sources played down the prospect of a sale.

Officials for 2 Sisters and Burton's Biscuit Co. could not be reached when contacted by just-food this afternoon. A spokesperson for Rothschild declined to comment.

It is not the first time the two companies have been said to have held talks over Fox's. In May 2014, Sky News reported discussions were held.

In October, reporting Boparan's results for the 12 months to 1 August, Ranjit Singh, the CEO of 2 Sisters Food Group, said the company had restructured its biscuits business during the year to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

The company provided detail on the performance of its divisions in the fourth quarter of that year. It said the Fox's "considerably outgrew the market in Q4" with like-for-like sales up 5.3% and volumes increasing 17.1%.

In December, Boparan published results for the first quarter of its new financial year. It said investment in "quality and marketing" at Fox's led to the company's biscuits sales rising "substantially" compared to the first three months of the previous fiscal period.

Boparan acquired the Fox's Biscuits business in 2011 when it snapped up UK group Northern Foods.

Burton's Biscuit Co. is owned by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, the Canadian pension fund, which acquired the Maryland Cookies owner from private-equity groups Apollo Management and CIBC in 2013.