The owners of United Biscuits is reportedly looking to auction its biscuits division for around GBP1.5bn (US$2.39bn), after China’s Bright Food walked away from acquiring the whole company.

According to a report in The Mail on Sunday, the move would put the division, which makes brands like McVitie’s and Penguin, up for sale at a value of around nine times last year’s profits – which worth 80% of United Biscuits’ total GBP223m profit.

The process, which is likely to be handled by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan is likely to be amied at major food groups such as Campbell Soup Co. and Kraft Foods.

United Biscuits, which is owned by private-equity groups PAI Partners and Blackstone, had not responded to calls for comment as just-food went to press.