The future of United Biscuits has again been thrown into doubt amid fresh speculation the company will be broken up by its private equity owners.

Blackstone and PAI Partners, which bought the company in 2006 for £1.6bn, have reportedly appointed Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to oversee a sell-off.

According to The Sunday Times, talks over a sale are likely to begin before the end of the year, putting brands including Hula Hoops, Jaffa Cakes and KP up for grabs.

A previous attempt to sell the company fell through last year after months of talks, when a solid bid from Chinese manufacturer Bright Foods failed to materialise.

The Campbell Soup Co was touted as a potential buyer for the biscuit arm, while Diamond Foods and Intersnack have been cited as likely bidders for the snack side of the business.

United Biscuits declined to comment on the latest reports.

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Testard replaces Fish as group chief exec in a reshuffle at UB (19 February 2011)
United Biscuits sale to Bright facing collapse (27 October 2010)