PG tips

CVC Capital Partners has agreed to buy Unilever’s tea division for €4.5bn after beating rival private equity groups Advent and Carlyle to a business that is home to PG Tips, Lipton and Brooke Bond (The Financial Times £).

The agreement with CVC comes after a near-two-year sale process after Unilever said in January 2020 that it was reviewing options for its tea business, which had suffered for years from declining sales as younger consumers switched to coffee and alternatives such as kombucha (The Times £).

The FTSE 100 consumer goods giant has owned Lipton since the 1930s and bought PG Tips in the 1980s (The Telegraph).

When the company hoisted the “for sale” sign back in 2020 Unilever’s chief executive, Alan Jope, complained that traditional tea drinkers were dying off, while younger consumers preferred coffee and fashionable herbal teas (The Guardian).

The Mail writes the deal is being seen as a win for Unilever boss Alan Jope, who has been seeking to rejig the company’s portfolio to keep up with changing consumer tastes.

An opinion column in The Financial Times (£) argues that Unilever’s sale of Lipton and PG Tips need not be the end for the traditional domestic beverage.

Crisps remain in short supply in almost one in three shops, according to new figures released following production difficulties at major producer Walkers (Sky News).

Snack-lovers risk going hungry as almost one-third of shops run short of crisps (The Telegraph).

Naked Wines shares plunged 20% this morning after the upmarket online wine seller reported a significant slowdown in its lockdown sales boom (The Mail)

Marks & Spencer will sell sandwiches and hot food in more than 2,500 Costa Coffee stores in a bid to target workers no longer commuting to the office every day (The Telegraph).

M&S said it would be providing more than 30 different items to Costa including children’s food, hot meal boxes and salads under the collaboration with the UK’s biggest coffee shop chain (The Guardian).

The chairman of Marks & Spencer warned that trade in Northern Ireland could become an “operational nightmare” and that the burden of red tape would be increased by concessions from Brussels (The Times £).

Britain’s biggest poultry producer is set to hire up to 900 temporary staff from overseas, under an emergency visa scheme introduced by ministers after concerns about a squeeze on labour leading to turkey shortages at Christmas (The Guardian).

UK consumer confidence improved in November despite surging inflation, easing some economists’ concerns about the spending recovery in the run-up to Black Friday and Christmas (The Financial Times £).

Consumer confidence has edged higher as shoppers prepare for a pre-Christmas spending spree despite soaring inflation and the prospect of an interest rate rise, a closely watched survey suggests (The Times £).

Retail sales in Great Britain rose for the first time in six months in October as consumers started their Christmas shopping earlier than usual to avoid missing out if there was a shortage of goods (The Guardian).

Henry Boot, the property developer, has been awarded a £47m contract to redevelop the former Rowntree’s factory in York into homes to be called the Cocoa Works (The Times £).

Alibaba’s US-listed shares fell more than 10% after the ecommerce group cut its sales forecasts sharply, citing slower growth in Chinese consumer spending (The Financial Times £).

The weakest annual sales growth forecast since Alibaba’s listing in New York seven years ago was greeted with obvious disappointment on Wall Street yesterday (The Times £).