The proposed sale of United Biscuits is in doubt after talks with the Jaffa Cakes maker’s Chinese suitor reportedly hit an impasse.

United’s private equity owners, Blackstone Group and PAI Partners of France, last month entered exclusive talks with Bright Food Group over a £2bn deal.

Although the period of exclusivity has not yet expired, the deal is effectively dead in the water, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Shanghai-based conglomerate emerged as the most serious potential buyer for United after a number of potential rivals, including US soup maker Campbell’s, ruled out making a bid.

Bright controls brands including Big White Rabbit confectionery and Shikumen rice wine.

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