United Biscuits Sold To Turkey's Yildiz Holding

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U.K.-based United Biscuits Ltd. will be sold to Turkey’s Yildiz Holding, according to a statement from the cookie maker’s private-equity owners said Monday, concluding an extended sales process.

The statement from PAI Partners and The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), who purchased United Biscuits for £1.7 billion 2006, did not mention the price of the deal. A source with knowledge of the matter said the price was around  £2.2 billion ($3.5 billion).

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Yildiz Holding will become the third-biggest biscuit company globally when the deal finalizes. Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ) is the number one cookie baker internationally. Yildiz noted the acquisition would improve its access to new markets and add to its global production capacity.

Deal for United Biscuits long time coming

The sale brings a four-year long effort by PAI and Blackstone to sell the company to fruition. The PE ownership group tried to sell the business to China’s Bright Food Group Co. back in 2010, but the deal eventually fell through.

This time around Yildiz was competing with Burton’s Biscuits, which is owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, as well as U.S. cereal and snack maker Kellogg Company (NYSE:K) in bidding for United Biscuits.

United Biscuits brought in gross revenues of £1.1 billion in 2013. Moreover, the firm enjoys a 25% market share of the U.K. biscuit market. That said, the company has suffered from tepid growth in recent years, with 2013 profits down 3.4% from 2012.

Statements from parties involved

“United Biscuits is a great business and has been an excellent investment for us. Yildiz is the best home for the company,” said Lionel Assant, European head of private equity at Blackstone.

“We want to grow United Biscuits to be a global player as part of Yildiz,” explained Murat Ülker, Yildiz’s chairman.

“We look forward to being part of Yildiz as we continue to fulfill our growth potential both in the U.K. and abroad,” noted Martin Glenn, United Biscuits’ CEO.

More about Yildiz

Yildiz is the food producer in Turkey, and owns businesses ranging from dairy products to produce to frozen foods. This is Yildiz’s second foray into international markets, as the firm bought the high-end chocolate brand Godiva six years ago.