Gresham to sell snacks company for up to £85m

Four private equity firms are reportedly lining up second-round bids for Whitworths, a UK dried fruit snack company acquired by Gresham Private Equity in 2001.

Gresham Private Equity, a UK lower mid-market private equity firm, has received strong interest in the sale of Whitworths, a dried fruit, nuts, stuffings and snack products supplier.
 
According to the Financial Times, private equity firms Lion Capital, European Capital, HgCapital and Barclays Private Equity have made it through to the second round of an auction being handled by Rothschilds.
 
Gresham declined to comment on the speculation, but a source close to the deal confirmed that the auction was going ahead with a valuation of between £80 million to £85 million (€119.5 million to €127 million) being placed on Whitworths.
 
Founded in 1886, Whitworths was acquired in a £15 million management buyout in 2001, led by Gresham’s Birmingham office. The business was purchased from Scotia Haven Food Group and currently has the number one position in the UK bagged fruit snack market, with a 26 percent share according to Whitworths’ website.
 
In July of this year, Gresham closed its fourth fund on a hard cap of £340 million, just one month after official launch. The firm invests in deals worth up to £100 million in the business and support services, consumer, financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals and industrial products sectors.
 
Gresham also has offices in London and Manchester.