Walkers buys Wotsits in Golden Wonder sale

Our City Staff
Tuesday 28 May 2002 00:00
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Golden Wonder, one of the UK's best-known crisps brands, has been snapped up by a rival snack food producer.

Bridgepoint Capital, an independent venture-capital group, yesterday said it had sold Golden Wonder to a private company called Longolf, which owns Skelmersdale-based The Snack Factory, for an undisclosed sum. Bridgepoint bought Golden Wonder Group and its Wotsits brand two years ago in a deal worth £156m. Walkers, the crisp maker owned by PepsiCo, has bought Wotsits.

Golden Wonder is based in Market Harborough in Leicestershire, and operates from two manufacturing sites – Corby in Northamptonshire and Scunthorpe – employing 1,400 staff.

The deal is subject to review by the Office of Fair Trading.

A spokesman for Longolf said it could not comment on its plans for the brands or whether there would be any job cuts, until after the OFT process was complete. Walkers also declined to comment.

The group was founded in 1947 by William Alexander, a Scottish bakery owner who named his crisps after a variety of potato. Imperial Foods bought the business in 1961, and then Imperial was acquired by Hanson 25 years later. Hanson then sold Golden Wonder to the food conglomerate Dalgety. In 1995, Dalgety sold the business to management, backed by the venture capital group Legal & General Ventures, and in July 2000 it was bought by Bridgepoint in a secondary buyout.

Meanwhile, Bridgepoint also announced it was making a partial exit from Adams Childrenswear. Bridgepoint backed a £87m management buyout of the company in 1999. The venture-capital arm of Lloyds TSB Group said it had invested £15m in the company, which is now valued at £120m.

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