Tyrrells crisps empire snapped up in £100m deal

MIDLAND-based snack food business Tyrrells has been purchased by alternative investment fund, Investcorp, in a deal worth £100m.

The acquisition represents a considerable premium on the £30m former owner Langholm Capital paid founder William Chase in 2008.

Founded at Tyrrells Court Farm, Herefordshire, in 2002, Tyrrells is best-known for its hand cooked potato and vegetable crisps as well as a range of premium snacks, including popcorn and savoury nibbles.

Available across an array of UK distribution channels, Tyrrells has also expanded internationally, with markets such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and North America today accounting for approximately 20% of group turnover. The company, which was awarded its first Queen’s Award for Enterprise in April, employs 270 people and generates in excess of £100m retail sales value.

Its products demand a high premium in places like Moscow where a packet of its crisps can sell for £5.

Mr Chase used the £30m he made from the original sale of Tyrrells to start a vodka distillery and the company’s Chase vodka is now regarded as one of the finest new brands on the global market.

Carsten Hagenbucher, principal in Investcorp’s European corporate investments team, said: “The premium snacks market is very dynamic and attractive. Tyrrells’ offering is unique and the business has an excellent position in the UK and a rapidly growing international footprint. We are excited about partnering with Tyrrells’ entrepreneurial management team to accelerate the international expansion and to build a world-class business.”

David Milner, Chief Executive of Tyrrells, said: “Investcorp’s wealth of experience in supporting premium businesses executing their ambitious growth strategies will be invaluable. At Tyrrells, we have exciting plans to leverage our differentiated, high quality brand both at home as well as abroad. Investcorp is the ideal partner to help accelerate our growth momentum.”

The transaction marks the busiest period in Investcorp’s 30 year history for its European Corporate Investment team. Over the last 18 months, the team has invested in six portfolio companies, including the Scandinavian luxury brand, Georg Jensen, and leading oil services provider, Hydrasun.