United Biscuits denies 7m ad review after acquisition

United Biscuits has been forced to scotch mounting speculation that it will conduct a review of its suppliers after the company’s acquisition by private equity firms Blackstone and PAI Partners.

Some observers had suggested that a supplier review was being put in place by the procurement department to ensure best value. But a company spokeswoman says: “That is not the case. There is not a review of suppliers as a result of the change of ownership.” Sources say that the company has reassured marketing services suppliers that it has no intention of reviewing their relationships.

The company’s creative advertising is handled by Publicis, while the media buying is through Starcom. The company spends some £7m a year on advertising.

It had been thought that while some suppliers of raw materials and other services were being reviewed, the marketing services would avoid this. The spokeswoman says: “The marketing suppliers are not being reviewed.” Blackstone and PAI bought United Biscuits, which owns the McVitie¹s brand, in a £1.6bn deal completed in December. This followed the decision of Premier Foods to drop out of the bidding process in September.

Earlier this month, chief executive Malcolm Ritchie announced he was stepping down and non-executive chairman David Fish is to expand his role to executive chairman. Marketing director Jon Eggleston retains his position.

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