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United Biscuits is 'likely' to sell Hula Hoops, say city analysts

01-Apr-2012
Last updated on 03-Apr-2012 at 11:59 GMT

Speculation has resurfaced over the past month that Hula Hoops maker United Biscuits (UB) is planning to sell off its salty snacks business.

Despite UB dismissing the reports, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times as "market speculation", city commentators remain convinced some form of separation was likely.

They also came as foods giant Kraft rebranded its global snacks business as Mondelez International to distinguish it from its other operations in other categories.

The latest news about UB followed rumours reported by FoodManufacture.co.uk last December, which suggested UB was planning to sell-off either its snacks or biscuits divisions. These followed similar rumours, which had emerged the previous July and were associated with a review of the UB business conducted by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

The latest reports suggested that UB's owners, US private equity group Blackstone and French buy-out firm PAI Partners had appointed investment bank Credit Suisse to split the salty snacks from the biscuits business.

Two years ago attempts to sell-off UB to China's Bright Food for around £2.5bn were unsuccessful.

UB, which owns well-known brands such as McVitie's, Jaffa Cakes, KP, Hula Hoops and McCoy's, reported a strong financial performance last year particularly for its savoury products.

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