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Weetabix may be sold in £1bn deal

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Matt Atherton

By Matt Atherton+

21-Dec-2016
Last updated on 21-Dec-2016 at 13:13 GMT2016-12-21T13:13:46Z

Weetabix may be sold by majority owner Bright Food Group (Flickr/AlexParis)
Weetabix may be sold by majority owner Bright Food Group (Flickr/AlexParis)

Weetabix could be sold for about £1bn in January, after its majority owner – China’s Bright Food Group – reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to sell the breakfast cereal manufacturer.

Bright Food Group acquired a 60% stake in Weetabix in 2012, but is now preparing to sell the food manufacturer, Reuters reported.

Weetabix struggled to break into the Chinese market, where consumers tend to eat hot breakfasts, the news agency reported. The majority of Weetabix’s sales came from the UK.

About £1bn

Weetabix had showed little growth since it was bought by Bright Food Group four years ago, sources said. So the company was expected to sell for about £1bn – similar to the sum it was bought for.

A Weetabix spokesman told Reuters the manufacturer would not comment on rumour or speculation. Goldman Sachs also declined to comment. Read the full Reuters report here .

Largest overseas takeover

Bright Foods’s acquisition of Weetabix in 2012 was the largest overseas takeover by a Chinese company in the food and beverage sector. At the time, the Chinese firm committed to investing in the long-term development of Weetabix – especially in Asia.

The cereal maker had already been in the headlines this week (December 19) after its Corby and Kettering staff voted to strike over proposed shift changes. Union talks with Weetabix allegedly broke down, so 92% of the union’s workers vote for industrial action. The strikes are due to begin in January.

Weetabix was nominated for three Food Manufacture Excellence Awards last month. It was a finalist in the Ambient manufacturing company, Training programme and Young talent of the year categories.

Meanwhile, the number of UK and Irish businesses acquired by overseas investors accounted for 34% of all deals in the third quarter of 2016, a Grant Thornton survey revealed this month. With the weakening of the pound following the EU referendum result, overseas investors could pay 15–20% less for assets, the financial advisory firm said.

 

Weetabix reported sale – at a glance
  • Owner Bright Food Group reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to sell Weetabix
  • Deal could be worth around £1bn.
  • Weetabix struggled to break into Chinese market

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