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US beef jerky firm Jack Link’s said today (21 February) it wanted to be the world’s “number one provider” of branded meat snacks after snapping up Peperami and Bifi from Unilever.

Privately-held Jack Link’s was this morning named as the surprise buyer of Unilever’s meat snacks arm. It first emerged last summer that Unilever wanted to sell its meat snacks assets and Mattessons owner Kerry Group was heavily linked to the business.

However, Jack Link’s has struck a deal with Unilever for an undisclosed sum. Jack Link’s said it is “the number one US meat snack brand and fastest-growing meat snack manufacturer worldwide”.

Troy Link, Jack Link’s CEO, added: “Jack Link’s mission is to be the number one provider of branded meat snacks throughout the world. This acquisition is a significant step in delivering on that mission. [The] Bifi and Peperami brands continue to drive growth in meat snacks in their respective territories.”

Peperami is sold in the UK and Ireland while Bifi has listings in Germany, the Benelux, Austria and Switzerland.

The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, includes the manufacturing unit in Ansbach in Germany.

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By GlobalData

Speaking to just-food, a Jack Link’s spokesperson refused to be drawn on the company’s M&A plans. “Our acquisition strategy isn’t something we can discuss, but obviously this is a significant acquisition for the company,” the spokesperson said.

For Unilever, the deal is the latest food asset it has sold in recent years. In 2013, Unilever’s disposals included the sale of peanut brand Skippy to Hormel Foods. The consumer goods giant is focusing its resources on ice cream, where it is the world’s largest manufacturer, driving growth from its other food businesses and further expanding its home and personal care operations.

“Bifi and Peperami are two iconic local brands. As we continue to sharpen our portfolio to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, we believe that the potential of these two brands can now be more fully realised with Jack Link’s,” Jan Zijderveld, president of Unilever’s European operations, said.