Its crunch time for United Biscuits

The long running saga of what will happen to United Biscuits, the UK-based savoury snack and biscuit manufacturer, appears to have finally reached a definitive stage this week. The company, which was acquired by private equity titans Blackstone Group and PAI Partners for USD 3.1bn in December 2006 from Cinven, has been the subject of speculation since mid-December 2011 that an exit was imminent.

Potential corporate buyers linked to United Biscuits have ranged from Kelloggs to San Miguel Corporation and with the usual smattering of financial buyers thrown into the mix as well. The announcement of an offer of just under USD 3.1bn by Yildiz Holding, Turkey’s largest food group, seems to have caught the media unaware, with no links being made between the two companies prior to yesterday’s formal press release announcing the offer.

Yildiz’s CEO is ambitiously talking of completing the transaction within 10 days, and given they acquired US candy make DeMet’s in December 2013 and hold a significant stake in Godiva, it’s clear that they have an appetite for deals.