The owners of United Biscuits will reportedly start the process to sell the UK firm’s salty snacks business after the summer period.

A report from Dow Jones Newswires yesterday (19 July) said the separation of United Biscuits into two units – salty snacks and biscuits – was now complete and bankers plan to kick off the auction for the salty snacks business in the coming months.

A United Biscuits spokesperson declined to comment, while officials at its two private-equity owners PAI Partners and Blackstone could not be reached for immediate comment.

United Biscuits announced in March it would split its biscuit and snacks businesses in the UK, a move then seen as a potential pre-cursor for the break-up of the company. Sources told just-food the decision was seen as a way of “realising more value” for Blackstone and PAI, which had put United Biscuits up for sale in 2010 but failed to find a buyer.

Kellogg and Intersnack have been touted as potential buyers of United Biscuits’ salty snacks business but both have declined to comment publicly.

The salty snacks side of the business, which owns brands including Hula Hoops and Skips, has been valued at around GBP500m (US$781.4m).

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The future of the biscuits division is likely dependent on whether United Biscuits’ owners succeeds in selling the salty snacks division.