Campbell Soup Co is considering a surprise £1.5bn move for United Biscuits.
The US soup maker has appointed investment bank Centerview Partners to spearhead a bid for the snack company. Its interest reportedly focuses on United’s biscuit-making arm, making a break-up of the company more likely.
In June, Campbell raised $400m via its largest sale of debt since 2002. At the time it said the proceeds would be used to fund future acquisitions.
United is behind brands including Penguin, McVitie's and Jaffa Cakes, as well as snacks including Hula Hoops, Twiglets and KP nuts.
The news comes after Blackstone and PAI Partners, United’s private equity owners of United, last month slapped a £2bn price tag on the company. They bought United in 2006 for £1.6bn.
Even if the cookie crumbles, United could be a hard sell (analysis; 31 July 2010)
United may be divided as backers look for trade sale (26 July 2010)
Biscuit giant UB put up for sale (21 July 2010)