Premier Foods bids for expansion

Premier Foods showed no signs of bid indigestion today after confirming interest in the UK maker of brands such as McVitie’s, Jaffa Cakes and KP.

Premier Foods showed no signs of bid indigestion today after confirming interest in the UK maker of brands such as McVitie’s, Jaffa Cakes and KP.

Premier, which owns Branston and Quorn and acquired the UK arm of Oxo and Homepride firm Campbell Soup last month, is seen as one of two contenders for the UK and Ireland biscuits and snacks businesses of United Biscuits.

St Albans-based Premier said today: “While Premier currently intends to make such an offer in the near future, there can be no certainty that this will result in a transaction.”

It was responding to a report in The Financial Times placing it at the head of a bid consortium, which also features a Dutch private-equity group and cake and biscuit manufacturer Continental Bakeries.

Premier is thought to be up against US buy-out group Blackstone Capital, which last year acquired Cadbury Schweppes’ European beverage business.

The prize for the winning bidder includes three of the top five biscuits brands sold in the UK: McVitie’s Digestive, Jacob’s and Jaffa Cakes. It also has Hula Hoops and KP snacks in its portfolio.

United Biscuits, which was taken private in April 2000 by a four-member consortium, opted for a sale this year after a review of the business. It is thought the auction could be worth around £1.7bn (€2.5bn).

Premier said in July that it was in the early stage of evaluating the possible acquisition of part of the business of United Biscuits.

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