U.S. cereal company Post Holdings has agreed to buy British brand Weetabix from China’s Bright Food Group Co Ltd in a 1.4 billion pound ($1.76 billion) deal that will expand its international business. Sonia Legg reports
(REUTERS / BBC) – It’s a breakfast favourite in more than 80 countries but the Chinese never really got a taste for Weetabix.
Five years after China’s Bright Food bought a 60 percent stake in the British’s cereal maker it’s selling the brand to the Americans.
Post Holdings has agreed to pay $1.76 billion for Weetabix, Alpen and Barbara’s brands.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FIRST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING:
“My travels in Asia, people don’t have cold, sweet breakfasts. Its move back to the United States – the home of breakfast cereals – is probably a good thing for the company. It never worked in China, it didn’t seem that the company that bought it pushed it particularly hard and I think that Weetabix will be more than happy to be back in rather safer American hands.”
Weetabix, which also makes Ready Brek instant porridge, is 85 years old.
It has a royal warrant, is the nation’s top-selling cereal brand and was family-owned until 2004.
It’s also the largest producer of breakfast cereals in the UK and employs around 2,000 people.
The new deal will give Post more access to international markets, while expanding Weetabix and Barbara’s in North America.
Bright says the sale doesn’t mean the end of its international ambitions.
It’s sticking to its overseas push and will use the money from the sale to expand.
Three other firms were reportedly interested in buying Weetabix – the strength of the dollar was thought to be a factor in securing it for Post.