The Chinese owner of Weetabix is selling the iconic cereal firm to US company Post Holdings for £1.4bn, giving the latter full control over some of the world’s most popular breakfast foods.
In a press release, Post said that the acquisition from Bright Food Group would help it to establish a platform in the UK.
“We have long admired Weetabix as a leader in cereal and believe it will be a fantastic strategic fit within Post,” Rob Vitale, Post’s president and chief executive officer said. “Combining together two category leaders continues our strategy of strengthening our portfolio in stable categories and diversifying into new markets, bringing much-loved brands to significantly more customers globally,” he added.
Back in January, Reuters reported that Post was among four bidders vying for Weetabix, the other bidders being Associated British Food, Cereal Partners Worldwide and Italian pasta maker Barilla.
Weetabix, which also makes Alpen cereal, Weetos and Oatibix, dates back to 1932 and was family owned until 2003. In 2012, Shanghai-headquartered Bright Foods Group bought a majority stake in the brand, but in December last year the owners reportedly hired banks to lead a sales process.
Bright Foods Group had hoped that Weetabix would help it crack the lucrative Asian market but, most of Weetabix’s sales still come from its much slower-growth home market.
Weetabix does, however, still have operations in Africa, through two joint ventures and a total distribution export business to over 90 countries.
Post on Tuesday said that when the transaction closes, Sally Abbott, Weetabix’s director of marketing, will become managing director of Weetabix UK and Ireland and report to Mr Vitale.
Giles Turrell, Weetabix’s current CEO, will assume the newly created role of chairman of Weetabix.
He will be responsible for overseeing the integration of Weetabix into the Post portfolio.
The deal is expected to be funded with existing cash, as well as borrowing, Post said.
Barclays, Rabobank, Credit Suisse and Nomura have been hired to act as financial advisors to Post and the deal is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2017.
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