Belgians lead the race to bag crisp maker Tyrrells

A Belgian private-equity firm with links to the Anheuser-Busch InBev beer empire has emerged as a front-runner to acquire Tyrrells, the upmarket crisp maker, for £100m.

The Brussels-based Verlinvest is understood to be one of the leading contenders to win Tyrrells but it faces competition from a small number of buyout firms and possibly trade buyers. Founded in 2002, Tyrrells, owned by the private equity firm Langholm Capital, has expanded its presence outside the big UK supermarkets to partners overseas from China to India over recent years.

Langholm put Tyrrells on the market by hiring advisers at McQueen, and the auction process is now at an advanced stage. First-round bids were due at the end of May.

Speculation has linked Kellogg's, the US food giant, and Tangerine, the Blackpool-based confectionery firm that owns Butterkist popcorn, to a bid for Tyrrells but sources have cast doubts on their interest.

However, it remains unclear if Calbee, a Japanese snacks firm, is in the running to buy the Herefordshire-based crisp maker.

Verlinvest, which manages the wealth of certain founding families of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the owner of the Stella Artois, Beck's and Budweiser beers, has form in the crisp industry. It acquired a major stake in the US brand Popchips from the private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners last year.

Langholm Capital, which is backed by the consumer goods giant Unilever, acquired Tyrrells in a deal worth £40m in 2008.

The maker of hand-cooked crisps operates in more than 20 countries, with its biggest markets outside the UK being the US, Canada, France and Germany.

Langholm and McQueen declined to comment. Verlinvest did not respond to requests for comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living