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Kellogg among bidders for United Biscuits

September 23, 2014
Food & Drink
U.S. cereal maker Kellogg Co. K, -0.46%  , Canadian pension fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Turkish biscuit company Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi AS ULKER, -0.33%  are among bidders offering about £2 billion ($3.27 billion) for British snack and cookie maker United Biscuits Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter.
 
The three were among those making first-round bids for United Biscuits last week, according to these people. Other companies that expressed interest included Italian chocolate company Ferrero SpA and the Philippines’ San Miguel Corp., these people said. Neither has submitted a bid yet, one person said.
 
The first round of bidding comes amid a yearslong effort by the private-equity owners of United Biscuits to exit their investment. In 2006, Blackstone Group LP and PAI Partners bought the British cookie company for £1.6 billion.
 
In 2010, the firms tried to sell the business to China’s Bright Food Group Co., but the deal fell apart over pension liabilities at United Biscuits, which makes British favorites such as Jaffa Cakes and McVitie’s Digestives.
 
The company also began weighing an initial public offering this summer, as an alternative to a sale.
 
United Biscuits and its owners are moving ahead with plans for either a sale or IPO simultaneously, according to people familiar with the matter. They plan for one or the other by November, one person said.
 
By Shayndi Rice
 

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