Private-equity firm Equistone Partners has taken a majority stake in Whitworths, the UK’s largest supplier of dried fruit, nut and seed products.

Equistone has purchased the stake from European Capital in a transaction valuing the business at GBP90m (US$141.9m), it said today (11 September).

Whitworths, which supplies branded and own-label lines, has around a 30% market share in its category. The company recorded sales of GBP157.3m in the year to end April.

Equistone said its investment will be used to support “further development of the product range to address new usage occasions”, such as out of home snacking, and to develop Whitworths’ brands, as well as providing scope to acquire complementary businesses.

“Whitworths stands out as the market leader in dried fruit, nut and seed products, a category with attractive dynamics,” said Joyce Church, of Equistone Partners Europe. “The management team has delivered on its strategy to date, and we look forward to working with them to help the business continue to develop, expanding distribution and product offering.”

This will be the second acquisition for Equistone in the last month. In August, it become a shareholder in French desserts manufacturer Charles & Alice.