Chinese in £1bn talks to gobble up Weetabix

THE OWNER of Weetabix, one of Britain’s biggest breakfast cereal producers, is in talks with a Chinese company about a possible sale of the business.

Bright Foods, Shanghai’s government-owned food-maker, is in discussions with Weetabix-owner Lion Capital about a bid believed to be in the region of £1bn.

Such a price-tag would be a 70 per cent return for Lion Capital, which bought the company in 2003 for £642m.

But Bright Foods could face competition from other interested parties from China and the UK, with recently listed cash shell Justice Holdings believed to have looked at a bid.

If Weetabix, which also makes Ready brek and Alpen muesli, were sold to a Chinese buyer, it could draw comparisons with US-owned Cadbury’s as another example of a home-grown British food-maker sold to a foreign buyer. Weetabix employs 2,000 people and is based in Northamptonshire.

Weetabix was first produced in 1932 and is now sold in 80 countries.

In 1991, Weetabix acquired Ready brek, the instant porridge cereal.

Alpen muesli was launched in 1971, followed by the launch of Alpen bars in 2002.