Premier Foods and Blackstone look to buy United Biscuits

The battle for United Biscuits has heated up with two bidders fighting for control of the UK manufacturer.

US buy-out group Blackstone, is expected to lodge a fully financed bid on Thursday and is pitted against a Premier Foods-led consortium which includes NPM Capital, a Dutch private equity group.

Both Blackstone and Premier Foods are vying for United Biscuit's Northern European brands, which include three of the top five biscuit brands sold in the UK.

Lion Capital, another buyout group, is said to be in talks with the Premier consortium although it may not take part in the final bid.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a US buyout group that had looked set to take part on Premier's bid is no longer involved.

The UK biscuit market is worth an estimated £1.8bn a year.