United Biscuits

Biscuits and snacks
Apr 2000
Nov 2006

This €2.9 billion public to private transaction was completed in April 2000.

United Biscuits is a large international manufacturer of branded biscuits and snacks. In addition to being the UK's leading biscuits company, United Biscuits is the number one or number two for branded biscuits in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Following the acquisition, Cinven's strategy was to refocus the group on its core businesses in Western Europe, and to consolidate its position in these markets through strategic acquisitions.

United Biscuits' businesses in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were sold to Nabisco, while businesses in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Italy, Malaysia and certain lines of savoury products in the United Kingdom were sold to Danone. This was balanced by the acquisition, from Nabisco, of businesses in mainland Europe, mainly Spain and Portugal.

A new senior management team with an outstanding track record in the food industry successfully increased branded revenue growth and achieved significant cost release across the entire business. Investment in innovative product and packaging and aggressive advertising has driven growth in branded sales. In addition, cost reduction programmes significantly reduced central overheads, rationalised the number of factories and streamlined procurement.

The leading position of United Biscuits’ brand portfolio was strengthened still further in 2004 by the acquisitions of Jacob’s Biscuits in the UK and Triunfo in Portugal.

United Biscuits was sold in November 2006, realising a multiple of 2.2 times our investment.