Unilever sells Chicken Tonight

Unilever has sold its Chicken Tonight and Ragu sauce brands to Symington's, the food group behind Golden Wonder snacks.

The deal covers the UK and Ireland, where Chicken Tonight was made famous by television campaigns fronted by the former Arsenal and England footballer Ian Wright. Unilever will continue to own the brands in all other world markets.

David Salkeld, the chief executive of Leeds-based Symington's, said: "The Unilever acquisition is a significant step for our business and we are delighted to have completed the deal. We have a proved track record taking on heritage brands, rejuvenating them and introducing new product developments."

Symington's said it planned to overhaul both brands, including introducing new packaging and recipe changes for Ragu.

Symington's marketing director, Henrik Pade, said: "Within the next year we'll see big changes to the brands."