Blackstone is sole bidder in United Biscuits auction

Premier Foods, a UK food group, has terminated discussions with United Biscuits in the £1.7 billion auction for the biscuits and snacks maker, leaving Blackstone as the sole remaining interested party.

Blackstone, a US private equity firm, is understood to be the last bidder standing in the long-running £1.7 billion (€2.5 billion) auction for United Biscuits after Premier Foods announced that it had pulled out of the running.
 
Premier Foods, a listed UK food group which owns the Ambrosia and Branston pickle brands, said in a statement that “discussions regarding its potential acquisition of the UK and Ireland biscuits and snacks businesses of United Biscuits have terminated”.
 
Blackstone was understood to be bidding against Premier Foods, which had partnered with Dutch private equity firm NPM Capital and Lion Capital, a consumer-focused UK private equity firm.
 
The firms were expected to make formal offers of up to £1.7 billion for the Northern European business of United Biscuits, which makes McVities Biscuits and Jaffa Cakes in the UK.
 
According to the Financial Times, Lion Capital pulled out of the Premier Foods consortium, leaving a funding gap of approximately £250 million and a reduced offer price, which was less attractive for United Biscuits.
 
The report said United Biscuits, which was acquired by private equity firms Cinven, PAI Partners and MidOcean Partners and Kraft Foods of the US in a €2.9 billion take private in April 2000, will consider alternative options, including a refinancing, if a sale to Blackstone falls through.
 
Blackstone was not immediately available to comment.