Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever is reportedly on the cusp of being given an “exclusivity” period to acquire UK-based healthy snack brand Graze.

As long ago as mid-2017, the UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper said London-based Graze was being prepared for a sale by private-equity firm Carlyle Group in the US, which took a minority stake in the business in 2012 when it was valued around GBP50m (US$65.3m at today’s rate). 

The weekly said then that a potential sale could fetch around GBP300m, although at the time, a spokesperson for the snack maker denied any deal was in the offering.

However, Sky News reported today (30 January), quoting sources, Unilever is just one of a number of potential bidders for Graze, including US food and drink giants Kellogg and PepsiCo, which have expressed an interest in “recent months”.

just-food has contacted all three companies to comment on any interest in Graze.

But one of Sky’s sources said Unilever is “close to securing a period of exclusivity within which to finalise the purchase of Graze’s parent company, ND1T Ltd”. 

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By GlobalData

The talks with Unilever are at a “sensitive stage” and could fall through, one of the sources said.

Sky also said a sale of Graze is unlikely to fetch the GBP300m price tag previously touted, adding that “one industry source” believes a deal for GBP150-200m is more likely.