Premier Foods today (14 September) revealed that talks to acquire the UK and Ireland biscuits and snacks business of United Biscuits have collapsed.

Premier’s withdrawal from negotiations follows reports in the UK press that the company had failed to secure sufficient funding for the venture after the withdrawal of private equity partners Lion Capital.

The UB businesses up for grabs included well-known brands such as McVitie’s, Jacobs and Jaffa Cakes and have been valued at GBP1.7bn (US$3.2bn).

“Premier continues to consider acquisitions to be an important part of its overall strategy and evaluates potential acquisition opportunities according to its strict set of acquisition criteria,” Premier said in a statement.

Premier’s withdrawal from the race appears to leave the way clear for US private equity group Blackstone which has also been in talks with UB.