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Blackstone, PAI eye £500m sale of United Biscuits snack unit

13 Mar 2012

Global private equity firms Blackstone and PAI Partners have appointed Credit Suisse to consider the sale options for United Biscuits’ savoury snack division, which is expected to fetch around £500m.

According to the Financial Times, the news follows talks last year aimed at separating the savoury snacks unit, which produces brands including KP Nuts and Hula Hoops, from the bigger biscuits division, which owns names such as McVities and Jaffa Cakes.

With the split now nearing completion, the firms are considering options for the sale of the savoury unit, which is expected to attract attention from private equity firms as well as strategic buyers, the report said, although the auction may not begin for ‘several months’.

A full exit for the bigger biscuits division is not planned until next year at the earliest, the report added. The news follows an earlier attempt to sell the combined business for over £2bn in 2010, although those plans were later shelved.

Cinven and MidOcean Partner generated a 2.2 times return on their initial investment after selling United Biscuits to Blackstone in October 2006 for around £1.6bn.

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