Post Holdings has agreed to acquire Weetabix from Shanghai-based Bright Food Group for £1.4 billion (approximately $1.8 billion). Weetabix is a U.K.-based packaged food company that primarily produces ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal products spanning branded and private label.
Founded in 1932, Weetabix holds the No. 2 overall position in the United Kingdom RTE cereal category. Its portfolio includes the iconic Weetabix brand as well as Alpen, Barbara’s, Weetos, and Ready Brek. In North America, Weetabix operates a natural and organic RTE cereal and snacking platform in both branded and private label, led by the Barbara’s brand and the Puffins sub-brand and serving natural and specialty channel and conventional retailers.
Weetabix has an international presence, with operations in Africa through two joint ventures and a distribution export business to more than 90 countries. Post has agreed in principle to establish a joint venture with Bright Food Group and an investment fund advised by Baring Private Equity Asia to manage the Weetabix China operations.
The combination of Post and Weetabix creates a diversified international food company with substantial free cash flow generation, enabling Post to fund growth over the long-term, including international cross-selling opportunities through expansion of Post products in select international markets and further expansion of Weetabix and Barbara’s in North America.
At the closing of the transaction, which is expected to be complete in the third quarter 2017, Sally Abbott, Weetabix’s director of marketing, will become managing director of Weetabix UK and Ireland and report to Rob Vitale, Post president and CEO. Giles Turrell, Weetabix’s current CEO, will assume the newly created role of chairman of Weetabix with responsibility for overseeing the integration of Weetabix into the Post portfolio. The other members of Weetabix’s existing management team will continue to lead the organization.
“We have long admired Weetabix as a leader in cereal and believe it will be a fantastic strategic fit within Post,” said Vitale. “Combining together two category leaders continues our strategy of strengthening our portfolio in stable categories and diversifying into new markets, bringing much-loved brands to significantly more customers globally. We are excited about the growth opportunities that this acquisition brings.”