Fox’s Biscuits sold to Italian family business in £246m deal
2 Sisters Food Group, has agreed to sell part of Fox’s Biscuits to a related company of the Italian family business Ferrero, in a deal worth £246m.
The Birmingham-headquartered business has confirmed the deal includes its Fox’s factories in Batley and Kirkham, but not its site in Uttoxeter, which is predominantly used to make own brand biscuits for major retailers.
This is the second British acquisition by a Ferrero related company in Britain, after it bought chocolate maker Thorntons in 2015.
The purchase by CTH, Ferrero’s Begliun holding, demonstrates how the business has been expanding rapidly under the leadership of Giovanni Ferrero, the son of Michele who created Nutella and now claims to be the world’s third largest chocolate and confectionary business and following this and the acquisition of biscuits makers Kelsen Group and Delacre in recent years is the second biggest firm in the sweet biscuit market.
Around 1,500 Fox’s employees will transfer over to the new business, according to reports, with the formal completion of the sale expected on 31st October 2020.
Ranjit Singh, president of Boparan Holdings, 2 Sisters parent company, said: “Fox’s Biscuits has always been an attractive brand and as one of only two major independent biscuit makers in the UK, it is a prized asset in this market.
“We have listened to many interested parties over the years, but we have always been clear that Fox’s would only be sold to the right new home, at the right time and for the right value. This sale represents another significant deal for us, underlining our commitment to our business turnaround.
“It strengthens our balance sheet even further and shows we are following through with our promises to focus on our key strengths. I wish all colleagues at the two Fox’s Biscuits sites every future success with an ambitious new owner.”
Ronald Kers, CEO of Boparan Holdings added: “This sale is in line with our strategy and is further good news as we build on two years of strong turnaround momentum and continue to focus on our core business. It strengthens our liquidity position and reduces our leverage ahead of our planned refinance of the business.
“We believe the sale to Ferrero is not only beneficial for 2 Sisters Food Group, but it means a positive future for the Fox’s brand with an owner who has a compatible culture and a global reputation for high-quality branded chocolate and biscuit products.”
Ferrero is being advised by Houlihan Lokey on the deal, with 2 Sisters Food Group, advised by bankers at Rothschild.