Deal is crisps group Taytos first acquisition in the vending sector

Deal is crisps group Tayto's first acquisition in the vending sector

UK snacks company Tayto Group has made its first acquisition in the vending sector with the "multi-million-pound" purchase of Leeds-based Freedom Refreshments.

Tayto has formed a vending "affiliate", Montagu Group, through which the Northern Ireland-based crisp maker has bought Freedom Refreshments. Montagu is 100% owned by the same shareholders as Tayto.

The deal includes Freedom Refreshments' subsidiaries, LTT Vending, Expresso Plus and Nivo.

Tayto, which owns brands including Golden Wonder, Mr Porky, Real Crisps and Jonathan Crisp, said the acquisition gives it "access to almost 7,000 vending machines across England".

Mark Stone, the former CEO of UK vending business Snacktime, who joined Tayto last year as group vending director, has been named CEO of Freedom Refreshments.

Stone said: "The vending machines will carry Tayto Group products, where appropriate, but their contents will be driven by consumer demand and will also include an extensive range of hot and cold drinks as well as confectionery."

Tayto CEO Paul Allen doubles up as CEO of Montagu Group. He said: "The acquisition of Freedom Refreshments is a key facet of our strategic development programme. While we have a strong share of the vending market in Northern Ireland, we only had limited reach into Great Britain and this deal will enable us to increase our presence significantly within this sector."

Allen added: "The people at Freedom are experts at what they do, continually developing their brand and subsidiaries through both organic growth and acquisitions. There are several synergies between Tayto Group and Freedom Refreshments and this acquisition will help us to bring our products to a wider audience. Freedom Refreshments turns over around GBP16m (US$19.8m) pa and is an established provider of hot and cold drinks and snacks across many sectors, including healthcare, workplace, education and retail."  

Former Freedom Refreshments owner Edward Selka, who is staying on to assist with the transition, said: "After a series of transformations, we have built the company into a thriving, national, vending refreshment and services business with around 160 employees and we are delighted that Montagu has purchased the company's entire share capital."

The deal follows Tayto's announcement in February that it had purchased London-based crisp maker Tavern Snacks, which came just weeks after the purchase of a majority stake in UK popcorn firm Portlebay Popcorn.