Sector News

Bondholders in crunch talks over £350m Fox's Biscuits bid

February 23, 2017
Consumer Packaged Goods

A group of financial institutions has lodged a surprise takeover bid for Fox’s‎ Biscuits, even as the industry faces pressure from rising commodity prices and growing consumer preference for healthier snacks.

Sky News has learnt that the mystery party which last month approached Fox’s owner, Boparan Holdings‎, was not a rival biscuit-maker but a consortium of City and Wall Street bondholders.

Speculation about the identity of the potential acquirer of Fox’s was triggered by a statement from Boparan to the Luxembourg stock exchange disclosing that it had received an approach to buy the business.

Fox’s had previously held talks with the owners of Burton’s Biscuits – the maker of Wagon Wheels – but had been unable to agree a deal.

Insiders said that a group of financial institutions were proposing to buy Fox’s through a new special purpose vehicle, although their identities were unclear on Wednesday.

Britain’s biscuit market has been undergoing significant change, with United Biscuits, the producer of McVities, taken over by ‎Turkey’s Yildiz Holding just over two years ago.

The industry’s major players are facing pressure from changing consumer trends and inflationary factors which are driving up costs even as big retailers resist demands to absorb those higher costs.

Boparan is the corporate vehicle of Ranjit Boparan, the tycoon whose 2 Sisters Food Group is the UK’s largest poultry producer‎.

He has also overseen the purchase of a string of restaurant chains including Ed’s Easy Diner and Giraffe.

A spokesman for 2 Si‎sters declined to comment on Wednesday.

By Mark Kleinman

Source: Sky News

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