Food and beverage sector mergers and acquisitions comment – April 2008


There has been much debate this week about Unilever’s decision to decentralise the management of some of its European brands such as Pot Noodle, Marmite, Bovril and Peperami, its so-called “local jewels”.

Is this a pre-cursor to the eventual sale of brands which cannot be considered global or is it, as the company insists, a matter of driving their top-line growth by having a management team focused purely on local brands? Analysts certainly seem to feel that it is only a matter of time before the brands are sold – what will be interesting will be the level of interest by the trade in acquiring them should they come on the market.

Deals completed in the UK

Hain Celestial Group, the natural and organic food and personal care products company, has acquired Daily Bread, a London-based producer of branded fresh prepared foods for the foodservice sector in the UK. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is expected to be accretive to Hain Celestial’s earnings during 2009.

Finsbury Food, the cake, bread and morning goods group, has acquired Yorkshire Farm Bakery and A&P Foods. The maximum deal value is £8.9m. Yorkshire Farm Bakery produces gluten free breads and morning goods, and shares a site with A & P Foods, which produces gluten free pre-mixes.

Tyrrells, the manufacturer of upmarket crisps, has been sold to Langholm Capital, the mid-market private equity firm. The deal values Tyrrells at £40m.

CSM, the Dutch bakery and ingredients group, has acquired Harden Fine Foods for £6.4m. Harden supplies mini-bite flapjacks, brownies, and cakes to in-store bakeries in supermarkets.

Dawnfresh, the Scottish seafoods business, has acquired Scot Trout, the fish processing and marketing co-operative. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Marston’s, the Midlands pub and brewing group, has acquired Refresh, the owner of the Wychwood Brewery in Oxfordshire, for undisclosed terms.

Visit our Food and Beverage sector page.