Developing

Cereal Takeover: Chinese Firm Buys Weetabix

British cereal favourite Weetabix has come under Chinese ownership after a Shanghai firm bought a majority stake in the Northampton-based business, promising global expansion.

Chinese state-backed firm Bright Food has agreed to buy 60% share of the Weetabix Food Company, while current private equity owner Lion Capital will retain a 40% stake.

The deal saw the British cereal giant, which also owns Alpen and Ready Brek, valued at £1.2bn.

Bright Food, which generated revenues of around £7.5bn last year, is looking to take advantage of China's "growing appetite" for healthy foods and to drive Weetabix's growth across Asia.

The firm's chairman Zongnan Wang said: "With Bright Food's strong resources and our expertise in both the Chinese and broader international markets, we are excellently placed to develop the Weetabix business."

On the question of job security for the UK workforce, he told Sky News the company was 'here to help.'

Weetabix, which is the UK's second biggest cereal manufacturer, exports to more than 80 countries, employs nearly 2,000 people and generates annual sales of more than £420m.

The Weetabix cereal alone accounts for 7% of UK cereal sales.

Weetabix chief executive Giles Turrell said: "While the company's focus has been on reinforcing and building on our leading position in the UK, I believe there are also substantial opportunities to further grow the business internationally, in North America, Asia and beyond."

The transaction is subject to regulatory and government approvals in China , although completion of the deal is expected in the second half of the year.

Northampton-based Weetabix was founded in 1932 and was family owned until 2004 when it was bought by a Texan private equity firm.

:: Chinese clothes retailer Trinity Limited has confirmed its acquisition of the Savile Row tailor Gieves and Hawkes - from another Chinese firm.

It has paid Hong Kong-listed Wing Tai Properties Limited an initial £32.5m for the business.

Trinity has said it will make additional annual payments for 18 years of up to a cumulative maximum of £60m, subject to the future growth of Gieves & Hawkes' business in Greater China.