Tyrrells Crisps snaffled by American popcorn maker in €351m deal
Tyrrells Crisps, the British upmarket snack business, has been sold in a £300m (€351m) deal to an American popcorn maker.
Amplify Snack Brands, a $1bn New York listed company, is best known for its healthy SkinnyPop brand, while Tyrrell’s more indulgent “Poshcorn”, which includes flavours such as summer strawberries and cream and lemon cupcake, is the fastest growing popcorn brand in Britain.
Tyrrells was founded in 2002 by William Chase, a farmer turned crisps and vodka entrepreneur, who started the business as an answer to his struggling Herefordshire farm’s reject potatoes.
Mr Chase made £30m when he sold the business in 2008 to private equity firm Langholm Capital and Tyrrells changed hands again in a £100m deal to Gulf-based Investcorp in 2013.
After Langholm Capital dropped Mr Chase’s potato farm as a supplier, the entrepreneur used the money he made from the sale to start a vodka distillery on the same farm and now sells more than 10,000 bottles of Chase Distillery vodka a week and exports to 35 countries, including Russia.
Under Investcorp’s ownership Tyrrells has doubled sales to £85m and made £18.3m in earnings last year, while rapidly grown internationally with overseas accounting for 40pc of group revenues.
In May, Tyrrells bought a German organic crisp maker as part of its ambition to become the “biggest premium snack brand in the world”.
Tyrrells, which has “Life’s a shindig” as its strapline, has also forayed into vegetable and sweet potato crisps.
“Tyrrells is a great British success story which we’ve been delighted to play a part in,” said Carsten Hagenbucher, managing director in Investcorp’s European Corporate Investment team.
“Three years ago we saw the opportunity to export a fantastic domestic brand and that has been our focus, through two transformative acquisitions - both of which were proprietary deals - and by driving growth in the UK and many international markets. ”
Mr Hagenbucher said that the Bahraini private equity firm, which has its European office in London, would continue to look at investments in the UK despite Britain's decision to leave the EU.
Investcorp was advised by Houlihan Lokey while Amplify was advised by bankers at Jefferies.