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Bright Food to Acquire 60% of Weetabix

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Bright Food to Acquire 60% of Weetabix

Bright Food to Acquire 60% of Weetabix
May 04
10:31 2012

Bright Food, one of China’s largest food groups, is acquiring 60% of Weetabix Food Company from private equity firm Lion Capital for an enterprise value of £1.2 billion. The remaining 40% of the shares will continue to be held by Lion Capital and management. The transaction is subject to regulatory and government approvals in China as well as certain anti-trust approvals. Completion of the transaction is expected in the second half of 2012. No further financial details of the transaction are being announced.

Weetabix is the second largest branded manufacturer by value of ready-to-eat cereals and cereal bars in the UK. The company’s portfolio of household brands features the market-leading brand Weetabix, and also includes Weetaflakes, Oatibix, Oatiflakes, Seriously Oaty, Ready Brek, Weetos and Alpen, the leading UK muesli brand. Weetabix’s branded cereal business is enhanced by its number two position in the manufacturing of own label cereals for retailers in the UK. In addition to its strong presence in the UK, the company has operations in North America, South Africa, Germany and Spainand exports to more than 80 countries around the world. Weetabix employs about 1,800 people worldwide and in 2011 generated sales of over £460 million.

Bright Food’s landmark acquisition is an exciting move by the company, signalling its entry into both the UK and global food markets through the iconic Weetabix brand. The transaction will represent the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese company in the food and beverage sector. The purchase also supports Bright Food’s strategy of buying famous international brands, developing advanced technology and taking strong competitive positions in each of its markets.

Bright Food is committed to driving the global growth and success of the Weetabix business, with a focus on the potential in Asia and especially in China, to take advantage of the growing appetite in the country for packaged and convenient healthy foods. Bright Food has extensive experience across all aspects of the food industry spanning the primary (agriculture/ farming), secondary (manufacturing of food products) and tertiary (retail and distribution) industries. In addition, it owns a number of well-known trademarks and branded products in Asia’s food processing industry. Bright Food will also offer an excellent ‘route-to-market’ through its extensive retail platform. In 2011, Bright Food generated revenue of $12.2 billion and had an EBITDA of $1.2 billion.

Lyndon Lea, partner of Lion Capital, comments: “The acquisition of Weetabix in 2004 was the first investment of Lion Capital and launched our strategy of investing in high quality consumer brands. Over the eight years that we have owned Weetabix it has generated top-line growth that has outpaced the broader cereal market as a result of increased investment behind the brands and innovation. We are excited to continue our journey with the Weetabix brand, which has been an enormously successful investment, as we extend the business into China in partnership with Bright Food.”

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