Campbell, which sold its UK business to Premier Foods in 2006, has hired Centerview Partners to advise it on a bid, according to the Sunday Times.
Bosses are understood to be primarily interested in UB’s biscuit operation, which makes up three-quarters of the business, but less interested in its snacks arm, which makes Twiglets, Hula Hoops and KP Nuts.
UB is owned by private equity firms Blackstone and PAI Partners, which acquired UB in 2006 for £1.6bn. Last year the business posted profits up 14% to £223m on sales of £1.3bn, although it has £1.2bn of debt.
“Subject to the competition authorities, the snacks business may yet attract a leading existing player such as PepsiCo, which owns the Walkers and Doritos brands or maybe even Procter & Gamble with its Pringles presence,” Shore Capital analyst Clive Black told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
GMB national officer Alan Black said the union would prefer a trade buyer to a private equity buyer for UB, but other than that was "completely agnostic".
UB operates 11 factories in the UK and four factories in Continental Europe. It also has a group technical centre in High Wycombe and a HQ in Hayes, Middlesex.