The Irish Republic’s top biscuit manufacturer, W& R Jacob’s, part of Jacob’s Biscuits Group, has been sold by Danone to private food firm Fruitfield Foods.
The deal is related to United Biscuits’ acquisition of Jacob’s, announced last week (The Grocer, July 31, p6) and is designed to appease competition authorities.
United Biscuits said buying W& R Jacob’s would have raised “a number of competition issues” because it would have given it half of the total biscuit market in the Republic. W&R Jacob’s clocks up annual sales of 170m through brands such as Kimberley and Mikado. The sale marks Fruitfield’s entry into the biscuit market, does not require the agreement of antitrust authorities and is effective immediately.
Malcolm Ritchie, United Biscuits’ chief executive, said: “The sale of Jacob’s Irish biscuits business to a local company will bypass competition issues.”