Horizon and Burton’s Biscuits merge

The marketing departments of Horizon Biscuits and Burton’s Biscuits will merge following the acquisition of Burton’s by US venture capitalists Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst.

Hicks Muse, which already owned Horizon, has bought Burton’s from Associated British Foods for &£130m to form the UK’s second biggest biscuit group behind United Biscuits. It will also be the UK’s largest own-label biscuit operation.

Burton’s 11-strong marketing department will merge with nine biscuit marketers from Premier International Foods.

Premier owns Horizon and Premier Beverages, which includes Typhoo Tea. The Horizon team will split from the combined Premier marketing department, leaving 20 marketers to work on beverage brands.

The new marketing department is likely to recruit further staff. It is not known who the new company’s top marketer will be.

Rob McNeilly is Burton’s brand marketing controller, while Andy Valentine is marketing controller for retail (own-label) brands.

Valentine was previously UK marketing controller of Horizon, a position now held by Tony Camp. Premier is also looking for a group marketing director following the departure of Andrew Baker to Cadbury Schweppes as director of marketing and commercial strategies of developing markets.

The newly-formed company’s name is likely to include both Horizon and Burton’s.

A Burton’s spokeswoman says neither brand will be dropped.

Horizon makes Maryland Cookies and Cadbury’s biscuits, while Burton’s makes Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels.

Burton’s chief executive Adrian Sharpe has been named chief executive of the new company. It is not known what role Premier Brands managing director John Nichols will take.

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