Kettle Foods has been bought by US snacks group Diamond Foods in a deal worth $615m (£404m).

Diamond takes over the US and UK businesses of the Kettle Chips maker from its private equity owner, Lion Capital.

"Kettle Foods' passion for making great tasting, natural potato chips has attracted a loyal consumer following and shaped a truly premium brand,” said Diamond chief executive Michael Mendes.

“Diamond and Kettle Foods share a history of relentless focus on flavour, product quality and working collaboratively with our retail partners. By adding Kettle, including its talented team of employees, our snack business will have greater scale [and] drive even greater innovation in the snack market.”

The sale marks a major return on its investment for Lion, which acquired Kettle in 2006 for £170m. But the investment group was initially understood to be asking for nearer £440m.

UK manufacturing giant United Biscuits was among those previously touted as a potential buyer.

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Top Products 2009: Bagged snacks (19 December 2009)
UB circling as Kettle asks buyers to dig deep (31 October 2009)
Kettle Chips maker set for sale (5/10/09)