Bidding War Underway for United Biscuits Buyout
It’s a tumultuous time right now for United Biscuits, the British manufacturer responsible for iconic brands like McVities Digestives and Jaffa Cakes. The company is currently owned by private equity groups Blackstone and PAI Partners, who purchased United Biscuits in 2006 with an eye to take the company public in the near future. But that could all be about to change – a handful of businesses from around the world are now in competition to acquire the snacks company. The question is: which one will emerge victorious?
According to the Financial Times, three companies are now on the shortlist for the acquisition of United Biscuits: Burton’s Biscuits (producer of the equally iconic Jammie Dodgers), US-based Kellogg Company, and Turkish group Ülker Bisküvi Sanayi (a part of parent company Yildiz Holding).
But while they may be the shortlist, they aren’t the only interested potential buyers. The FT notes that Italy’s Ferrero SpA, China’s Bright Food, and San Miguel Group from the Philippines also have a keen interest and should be expected to place bids as well.
According to the report, Bright Food may actually have a strong position in the running, as it was in talks with Blackstone and PAI to acquire United Biscuits back in 2010 – the deal reportedly fell through due to pricing, but the Chinese food company could be coming back better prepared for business this time around.
But the others are strong contenders as well. Kellogg Company has a proven track record of support for iconic brands of its own, from its breakfast cereals like Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops to snacks and biscuits like Pringles and Keebler cookies. With a partnership that helped Kellogg expand into the Mediterranean, Yildiz Holding and Ülker Bisküvi Sanayi are the smart choice if United Biscuits is wants similar support but is trying to expand its reach more into further reaches of Europe or western Asia. On the other hand, if strengthened branding within the UK is the ultimate goal, United Biscuits could do well through a partnership with Burton’s.
It’s likely to be a little while longer before a frontrunner becomes clearly apparent. But before the bidding is all over, financial experts estimate that United Biscuits could wind up valued at as much as £2 billion.
[SOURCE: Financial Times]
Ireland could create template for global food sustainability
Leveraging innovation could cultivate new agricultural breakthroughs, making Ireland the most responsible and sustainable food producer on Earth, according to a renowned local luminary.
Economist and author David McWilliams has insisted that Ireland can become a pivotal carbon-neutral, resource-efficient and sustainable food producer – possibly the most influential on the planet.
He does acknowledge, however, that there are considerable obstacles on the country’s trailblazing journey to complete energy-efficient and sustainable food production.
McWilliams also claims that the widely-held belief within the EU that reducing food production thus reduces carbon emissions does not tally.
“For the European Union to get an aggregate reduction in carbon emissions,” said McWilliams at the Alltech ONE Ideas Conference. “It would seem to me much more logical to favour those countries that have had an evolutionary, ecological or environmental gift, in order to actually produce more, not less, because your input-output ratio is so much lower than it is either in the parched Mediterranean or in the frozen tundra of the North.”
Reflecting on the situation in the US, McWilliams said its agriculture output had tripled between 1948 and 2015, with exponential gains in efficiency. Surprisingly, agriculture only contributes to 7.5% of total US greenhouse gases, far below the 30% attributed to cars.
“I think American culture is changing, at least when you see it from the outside,” said McWilliams said of President Biden’s approach. “He's saying, ‘There's no point being wealthy if the wealth is only in the hands of a small minority. The wealth has to trickle down to everybody else.’”
McWilliams concluded that for Irish agriculture to modernise and grow, it should use one of Ireland’s leading sectors – technology – as a frame of reference. It currently generates over $25 billion in exports.