Managers hope to buy biscuit firm


Wagon Wheels

Bosses at Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels biscuit firm Burton's are preparing a management buyout of the group after it was put up for sale with a potential £350 million price tag, according to a report.

Burton's chief executive Ben Clarke is leading a team of senior managers hoping to secure financial backing for a takeover bid, The Sunday Times reported.

The firm - the UK's second biggest biscuit maker behind United biscuits - was officially put on the sale block last week by owners Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and private equity group Apollo Global Management.

The sales process follows a strategic review by Credit Suisse earlier this year.
It is thought that a raft of private equity firms are hoping to back a management buyout of Burton's, which employs more than 2,000 staff in the UK and has three plants in South Wales, Blackpool and Edinburgh.

The St-Albans headquartered firm also has a chocolate refinery in Moreton, Merseyside, and central distribution hub in Liverpool.

Mr Clarke told The Sunday Telegraph he wanted the jobs and manufacturing processes to remain in the UK after any deal.

But the management may face bid competition from Cadbury owner Mondelez, which is understood to have first refusal over a buyout.

Burton's traces its roots back to George Burton, who began making biscuits in Leek, Staffordshire in the mid 1800s.

The existing company was formed in 2000 by the merger of Horizon Biscuit Company and Burton's Gold Medal Biscuits, which was created from the Burton family's original bakery founded in 1935.

Its current owners took control of the group in 2009 under a debt-for-equity swap after it racked up huge debts under previous owner Duke Street Capital.

Burton's also makes Maryland chocolate chip cookies, popular Cadbury's brands such as Fingers and Lyons' biscuits.

© 2013 Press Association