Turkey's Yildiz Holding buys United Biscuits in rumoured £2bn deal


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The Independent Online

A Turkish food giant that owns Godiva Belgian chocolate has gobbled up the maker of Jaffa Cakes and Twiglets in a £2bn deal.

Yildiz Holding, the twelfth largest confectionary company in the world, has beaten interest from breakfast cereal group Kellogg, Burton's Biscuit and Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital to buy United Biscuits.

Yildiz is thought to have paid around £2bn, including debt, to private equity investors Blackstone and PAI Partners for the biscuit and snack maker. The pair had been trying to sell the group since 2010 and recently looked at an option of listing the business.

Yildiz, which comprises 300 brands across biscuits, cake and confectionary to dairy and soft drinks, has bought the British biscuit group to expand it internationally. The Istanbul based firm, which owns food manufacturer Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi,  has a large presence in north America, China, Middle East and North Africa and believes it can expand UB’s brands into these new markets. It will also introduce some of its own brands into UB’s established markets.

Murat Ülker, chairman of the Yıldız Holding board of directors, said: “The addition of United Biscuits’ market-leading portfolio of brands will further strengthen Yildiz Holding’s position as a leading global consumer goods group, combining two highly complementary geographical footprints and opening significant opportunities for further growth. We want to grow United Biscuits to be a global player as part of Yildiz.”

The group will keep UB’s current management in place and is thought to have no plans to cut its manufacturing plants. Mr Ulker added: “Yildiz currently has minimal presence in the UK, so we will continue to invest in the UK and Europe.”