M&A round-up: The good, bad and ugly deals of 2010

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sisters food group Venture capital Food preservation Cooking

Lyle's Golden Syrup now has US owners
Lyle's Golden Syrup now has US owners
There were some sizeable deals in the food sector in 2010, from the Kraft-Cadbury takeover at the start of the year to Pepsi’s acquisition of Russian dairy and juice giant Wimm‐Bill‐Dann at the tail end.

Meanwhile, Greencore and Northern Foods got engaged, Unilever unveiled plans to double in size and United Biscuits looked like it was going to change hands (it still hasn't).

But what else has been going on? As a reminder of who’s been shopping over the past 12 months, FoodManufacture.co.uk has selected its top picks from the annual food group M&A round-up from Yorkshire-based solicitor Rollits…


  • Warburtons​ buys the Newburn baking plant in Newcastle of North East Bakery, which went into administration at the end of 2009.


  • Grimsby-based Five Star Fish​ was bought by Boparan​ Group, which is currently sniffing around Northern Foods.
  • Coca-Cola​ increased its stake in smoothie supplier Innocent​ to nearly 60%.
  • Raven Patisserie was bought by conserve maker Wilkin & Sons.
  • R&R Ice Cream bought French counterpart Rolland from its family owners.
  • 2 Sisters Food Group​ [owned by Boparan) snapped up Dutch poultry firm Storteboom Group.


  • Langholm Capital backed the MBO of Bart Spices​.
  • Hedon Salads​ merged with English Village Salads​, part of the Bakkavör​ empire.


  • Darwin Private Equity bought organic baby food supplier Plum Baby​.
  • Corn Products International​ bought National Starch​ from AkzoNobel


  • Tate & Lyle​ sold its European refining businesss and Lyles Golden Syrup plant to American Sugar Refining.
  • The Irish Dairy Board​ combined its Kerrygold​ and North Downs Dairy​ hard cheese businesses to become Adams Foods.
  • Hotel Chocolat​ raised £3.7m to fund expansion through a ‘chocolate bond’.
  • Greencore​ sold its Dutch-based convenience food business to private equity group Parcom.
  • United Biscuits​ was put up for sale, but exclusive talks with China’s Bright Food Group soon broke down.
  • Cranswick​ created a joint venture with Morrisons​ for the production of cooked meats.


  • Northern Foods​ agreed a £6.4m deal to sell Dalepak to Irish Food Processors Group.


  • Claymore Dairies​ is acquired by Graham’s Dairy.
  • Unilever​ puts Ragu and Chicken Tonight on the market.


  • Northumberland Foods​ (formerly Cheviot Foods) was bought by Longbenton Foods.
  • Tangerine Confectionery​ seeks new investment.


  • Premier Foods​ is in talks over the sale of its canning sites at Wisbech and Long Sutton.
  • Northern Foods ​and Greencore​ propose a merger to create Essenta Foods.
  • Lactalis​ made a pre-emptive strike for Yoplait, but was rebuffed.


  • Privet Capital acquired Polestar Foods​, securing the future of the former Heinz frozen desserts factory at Okehampton, but failing to guarantee the future of its sister site at Leamington Spa, which went into administration.
  • Premier Foods​ said talks on the sale of its meat-free business were at an advanced stage.
  • Greencore​ bought Boston-based sandwich maker On A Roll.

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