Chinese swallow Weetabix Food Company for £1.2bn
One of China's largest food groups snapped up Weetabix Food Company in a £1.2bn deal yesterday.
Bright Foods has bought a 60 per cent stake in Weetabix from private equity firm Lion Capital – the first time a Chinese group has bought a major European brand.
Chinese state-owned Bright Foods has been looking at the UK consumer goods sector for some time and held talks to buy Britain's United Biscuits last year.
The Weetabix deal sees Bright Foods take on the debt of the business as part of the deal leaving Lion Capital and management with the remaining 40 per cent of the shares.
Bright Foods will expand the brand into Asia as well as further growth in north America. The Weetabix Food group also owns the Alpen and Ready Brek brands.
Akeel Sachak, global head of the consumer team at Rothschild who advised on the deal, said: "After much talk about Chinese companies looking at investing in the UK, this is the first time that a Chinese company has actually bought a major European consumer brand.
"The consumer market in China is evolving fast," he added.
"Chinese companies understandably want to satisfy the latent demand with products they own rather than watch foreign multinational groups bring their brands to Asia, and breakfast foods are an obvious area of growth in China."
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