Ex-Findus Owner Acquires Taste For Dodgers
A host of private equity groups including the former owner of Findus frozen foods are lining up £350m takeover bids for the maker of Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels.
Sky News understands that Capvest, which also previously owned the Young's seafood brand, and Pamplona Capital Management are among a pack of prospective bidders circling Burton's Biscuits.
Burton's has been put up for sale by its owners following a review of the company initiated earlier this year.
Among the other parties examining potential offers is Bahlsen, a privately-owned German biscuit-maker, according to people close to the situation, and Mondelez, the American food giant, which is reported to have the first option on a takeover.
Ben Clarke, Burton's chief executive, is expected to participate in a buyout of the company.
A sale of Burton's would entail a change of ownership for another portfolio of prominent UK food brands following the sale several months ago of the snacks division of United Biscuits (UB), which included Hula Hoops and KP Skips among its products.
Burton's is Britain's second-largest biscuits manufacturer by sales, behind UB, which is also owned by two private equity groups, Blackstone and PAI Partners. The company also produces Cadbury Biscuits, Lyon's and Maryland cookies.
Based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, Burton's traces its roots back to the mid-1800s when it was founded by George Burton.
It employs more than 2,200 people around the UK in three manufacturing facilities in Llantarnam, Edinburgh and Blackpool, a chocolate refinery in Moreton and a central distribution hub in Liverpool.
Burton's is one of a sizeable number of mid-sized British companies which has been through several phases of private equity ownership.
In 2009, Apollo and CIBC, the Canadian bank, seized control of the company after Duke Street Capital, its previous owner, was forced to surrender control to the biscuit-maker's lenders.
Another private equity group, HM Capital, had bought the company in 2000 from Associated British Foods, owner of the Primark retail chain.
The auction of Burton's will pre-empt that of UB, which is expected to be put up for sale in the next couple of years. UB, which now consists solely of a biscuits business, owns the McVitie's brand, which includes products such as Jaffa Cakes and Penguin.
Burton's declined to comment.