Weetabix explores China sale

British cereal maker Weetabix is in talks to sell iconic British brands such as Ready Brek and Alpen to a Chinese food company in a deal thought to be in the region of £1bn, a move that comes weeks after the company unveiled marketing-led plans to claw back market share from market leader Kellogg’s.

Weetabix

The breakfast cereal maker’s owner Lion Capital has been in talks with Bright Foods, a government owned food maker, about the sale for several weeks, it has been reported.

Both Lion Capital and Weetabix declined to comment.

Lion Capital purchased Weetabix in 2004. The negotiations follow the private equity firm refinancing the £900m debt of the business last year.

The talks to sell Weetabix come just weeks after the company unveiled its marketing-led plans to claw back share from market leader Kellogg’s in the UK as well as boost its profile internationally.

It is unknown whether a sale of the brand to Bright Foods would affect the company’s marketing strategy.

Bright Foods, one of China’s biggest food manufacturers, has tried to purchase a British food company in the past. In 2010 the company came close to buying United Biscuits, the Hula Hoops and Mcvitie’s owner, but the deal fell through.

Weetabix is the second-largest manufacturer of cereals and cereal bars by value in the UK. The company’s brands account for 7% of the country’s total cereal sales.

It generated revenues of £449m in 2012, the most recent year the company has filed a financial statement.

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