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Bright Food‘s United Biscuits offer crumbles

28 Oct 2010

An offer by Chinese company Bright Food Group to acquire private equity-backed UK snack maker United Biscuits is near collapse, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Owners Blackstone and PAI Partners had entered into exclusive talks with the company for a deal that could have raised over £2bn (€2.2bn). The exclusivity period is still in place, but the talks are effectively dead, the paper said.

The breakdown of talks will be a blow to the private equity duo, having held the company for four years. From here, a wider auction process could take place, or plans for a sale could be put on hold for the time being.

United Biscuits, which was acquired by the private equity duo in 2006 for £1.6bn (€1.8bn), produces such well-known snack brands as Jaffa Cakes, Hula Hoops and Hob Nobs.

Founded in 1948, the UK company employs 7,000 people across 14 locations in the UK, increased its revenues by 5.1 per cent last year to £1.26bn (€1.48bn), but still holds net debt of £1.2bn (€1.4bn). An acquisition by Bright Foods could see United Biscuit’s brands rolled out into the Chinese market.

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