Cashing in the “chips”…. (crisps!)

Having been around the world of M&A for many years, I guess I have become a little blasé about the ever changing ownership of global behemoth companies, crazily huge valuations of “Unicorns” or the next best tech company.

It’s the deals where I know the company or have a connection via their services or products, that now catch my eye and intrigue me. Therefore yesterday’s announcement that Tyrrells, the English “crisp” company, (although now I would be inclined to call them a “snack” company given the ever increasing array of nibbles that they offer), is to be sold for over GBP 300m to Amplify Snack Brands, the US manufacturer of popcorn and tortilla chips. This deal is interesting to me for a couple of reasons; a) I’m an avid lover of Tyrrell products and I’m intrigued by what will happen to a company that has marketed itself by its Englishness; and b) the Tyrrells story represents the typical story of a rags to riches niche company going through its M&A life cycle.

Founded in 2002 by Will Chase, Tyrrells’ first M&A experience arrived in April 2008 when he sold a majority stake to Langholm Private Equity for a reported GBP 40m. Mr Chase retained a small minority stake until December 2010 when he sold the remainder of the company, also to Langholm. Langholm exited the business in August 2013 via a GBP 100m sale to Investcorp, and now it is Investcorp’s turn to reap the reward and cash in their chips for GBP 300m via the sale to Amplify.

Will Amplify try to merge Tyrrells products in with their own product lines or will they leave the brand alone and try to capitalise on the strength of the Englishness associated with the Tyrrells brand and its quirky marketing messages? More importantly (from a consumer rather than an M&A perspective) will they continue to use British spuds?

Filed under: food, M&A, snacks, UK, exit