Burton’s Biscuits sold to Canadian pension fund

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pension fund Burton’s biscuits

Jammie Dodgers' maker Burton's Biscuits has been sold to Canadan pension fund Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan
Jammie Dodgers' maker Burton's Biscuits has been sold to Canadan pension fund Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan
Burton’s Biscuits, the maker of iconic snacks Wagon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers, has been sold to the Canadian pension fund Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) for an undisclosed sum.

Industry commentators valued the deal at about £350M. The UK’s second-biggest biscuit manufacturer, Burton’s Biscuits employs 2,000 people throughout the country and has annual sales of £340M.

Under the terms of the deal, OTPP will acquire the whole manufacturer from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and affiliates of Apollo Global Management. The sale includes all of Burton’s brands, all of the rights under Burton’s Cadbury licence and Burton’s manufacturing sites in Blackpool, Edinburgh and Llantarnam, Monmouthshire, along with its chocolate refinery in Moreton, Merseyside.

Burton’s will continue to be led by its existing management team under Ben Clarke, ceo, and operate under its existing name from its current head office in St Albans.

‘Find the right partner’

Clarke said: “We are delighted that OTPP will shortly acquire Burton’s Biscuit Company. During this process we have met with over 30 different potential buyers and, as significant co-investors going forward, it was critical for the management team to find the right partner.

“With their combination of extraordinary financial firepower, true partnership approach and global expertise, it is clear to me that OTPP are the ideal partner for us. We are very excited about working with Jo Taylor and his team as we pursue our ambitious plans for growth both in the UK and internationally.”

The sale process was said to have attracted interest from “multiple high quality bidders”,​ including from a number of private equity houses and trade companies.

Jo Taylor, head of OTpP’s London office, said the deal would allow the business to grow in the UK and further into overseas markets. “There are also many strategic acquisitions to consider in those territories that can enhance these ambitious growth plans,”​ said Taylor.

‘Portfolio of iconic brands’

“With its portfolio of iconic brands, Burton’s is set to lead the premium biscuit market for some time to come and use product innovation to appeal to consumers looking for delicious treats and snacks inside and outside the home.”

Credit Suisse was lead financial advisers to Burton’s and its shareholders on this transaction, with Linklaters as legal adviser. The sale is expected to complete this month.

In addition to Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels, Burton’s Biscuits also makes the Maryland brand and Cadbury biscuits under licence.

OTPP is Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan with net assets of £77.2bn ($129.5bn) at the end of last year. 

Meanwhile OTPP has acquired a number of British businesses in recent years. Its acquisitions include: the National Lottery operator Camelot and Busy Bees nursery chain.

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