2 Sisters Food Group took Fox’s on board as part of its acquisition of Northern Foods in 2011. “The branded business 2 Sisters acquired is not necessarily core and is outside the comfort zone of the group,” one analyst told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“If they were going to sell anything, selling Fox’s would make sense. The owners of Burton’s want to build the business and if they acquired Fox’s, there would be synergies.”
Biggest UK biscuit brands
If such a transaction were to progress, it would bring together some of the biggest UK biscuit brands, uniting Burton’s Maryland Cookies and Jammie Dodgers with Fox’s Crunch Creams and Melts.
The resultant business would rival United Biscuits (UB), which makes McVitie’s and Jacob’s brands among others, currently the number one UK biscuit-maker.
The report surfaced on Sky News’ website on Friday, claiming that the owners of Burton’s had made a preliminary approach to 2 Sisters. However, it is understood that such an approach is at a very early stage and might not result in a deal being struck.
Burton's Biscuits declined to comment and 2 Sisters was unavailable for comment as this article was published.
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
Burton’s Biscuits was bought by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTTP) in November for an undisclosed sum, although industry commentators valued the transaction at £350M.
The new owner took on the entire manufacturer from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and affiliates of Apollo Global Management.
At the time of that agreement, Jo Taylor, head of OTTP’s London office, said it would allow the business to grow further both in the UK and overseas. “There are also many strategic acquisitions to consider in those territories that can enhance these ambitious growth plans,” Taylor added.
UB’s private equity owners PAI Partners and Blackstone have declared their intention to put UB up for sale later this year.
Once it is, OTTP could be an interested party, although Trefor Griffith, head of food and beverage at accountancy firm Grant Thornton said in October a private equity buyer was more likely.