Exclusive: Dodgers Owner Plots £300m Sale
The company behind some of Britain's best-known brands of biscuits, including Dodgers and Wagon Wheels, is to be put up for sale for about £300m.
I have learnt that Apollo Management and CIBC, which have owned Burton's Biscuits since 2009, have hired advisers to oversee an auction of the company.
A sale 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.
Credit Suisse, the investment bank, has been appointed to oversee a review of Burton's strategic options, according to insiders, the likeliest outcome of which is a sale. The consumer industries team at Credit Suisse had previously worked on a potential break-up of UB.
Burton's is one of a sizeable number of mid-sized British companies which has been through several iterations 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.
People close to Burton's said the appointment of Credit Suisse was a signal that the shareholders wanted to offload the company before an auction of UB got underway.
UB, which now consists solely of a biscuits business, owns the McVitie's brand, which includes products such as Jaffa Cakes and Penguin. It is not expected to be put up for sale for some time, and is unlikely to be a contender to buy Burton's for competition reasons.
Apollo, Burton's and Credit Suisse all declined to comment.