German firm buys makers of KP Nuts and Hula Hoops for €600m
SNACK favourites including KP Nuts, McCoy's crisps and Hula Hoops were sold to a German firm today in a deal thought to be worth more than €600m (£500m).
KP Snacks, which is the UK's second largest snack maker, will come under the ownership of Intersnack after being put up for sale by McVitie's and Jacob's owner United Biscuits.
Around 1,500 people work for Middlesex-based KP Snacks at factories in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire; Rotherham, South Yorkshire; and Billingham and Consett in County Durham.
Subject to completion next year, they will join the UK savoury snacks business of Intersnack, which makes Pom-Bear crisps and Penn State pretzels.
United, which is owned by private equity firms Blackstone and PAI Partners, will retain the baked bagged snacks brands manufactured in its biscuit factories, including Mini Cheddars and Twiglets.
Other brands in the KP Snacks business sold today include Wheat Crunchies, Skips, Brannigans and Cheese Footballs.
The Financial Times reported that the deal could value KP Snacks at more than £500 million, although no value was given by the parties today.
Including KP Snacks, United employs around 8,000 people, 7,000 of them in the UK. Intersnack was founded in 1968 and is on track for record sales of £1.4 billion this year, including £80 million from the UK.
Executive chairman Maarten Leerdam said the company appreciated the "significance of acquiring a part of British heritage".
He added: "Intersnack is a strong believer in the power of iconic, local hero brands, and we aim to leverage these strengths for further expansion."
United was bought by the private equity firms for £1.6 billion in 2006 and has been the subject of sale speculation in the last couple of years.
It dates back to 1948, when it was formed from the merger of two Scottish family businesses - McVitie & Price and MacFarlane Lang.
Talks with several big groups, including China's Bright Foods, Kellogg's and Kraft Foods, failed to drum up a credible bid in 2010, prompting its owners to consider splitting the business into two.