Thomas J Fudge’s hopes to become the UK’s number one premium biscuit brand after securing investment from mid-market private equity business Livingbridge.

The Grocer revealed last April that the business was working with corporate adviser Grant Thornton on a potential sale of the business.

Livingbridge’s multimillion-pound backing will see brothers Steve and Graham Fudge and Graham’s wife, Sue, pass control of the company to Paul Vita and Vickie Best, currently commercial director and operations director respectively. They will run the bakery as joint managing directors.

Steve Fudge said he and his family had been “looking for some time to find the right buyer” for the business and were “thrilled to be passing it on to Livingbridge as the guardians of our heritage with exciting plans for growth”.

Paul Vita added: “The new partnership and investment from Livingbridge brings great opportunities at this exciting time within the premium biscuit category… to further drive value and distribution to realise our vision to become the UK’s number one premium biscuit brand.”

His comments were echoed by Livingbridge director Benoit Broch, who remarked, “Thomas J Fudge’s has been on our radar for some time, following its success in carving out a name for itself in the premium biscuits market. Our investment will enable this already strong brand to continue its growth in the UK.”

Founded in 1916 to sell bread, Thomas J Fudge’s employs 133 people at a 32,000 sq ft site in Stalbridge, Dorset, where it produced about 6.5 million biscuits, crackers and Florentines per week in 2015 - during which time the brand grew at double the premium market growth rate, driving value in a biscuit category that showed little change overall [Kantar 52 w/e 31 January 2016].

This year marks the bakery’s centenary and sees a £700,000 investment in sales and marketing. A sampling, social media and PR campaign is already underway, and further NPD and promotional activity is planned for later in the year.