A Ferrero firm has snapped up iconic UK biscuit maker Burton’s - makers of Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels - for a rumoured £300million.
As part of the deal, the Italian chocolatier will take over six bakeries in the UK, including sites in Blackpool, Dorset, Edinburgh, Livingston, Llantarnam and the Isle of Arran.
Burton’s can trace its history back almost 200 years to 1829, with the birth of George Burton - “the boy who grew up to bake biscuits” - who opened his first bakery in Leek, Staffordshire.
In 1935, his grandson Joseph formally founded the company and it now employs around 2,000, generating more than £275 million in the last 12 months from sales of favourites also including Maryland Cookies, Paterson’s, Lyon’s and Thomas Fudge’s.
The Ferrero-related company purchased the brand from the the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan board, a Toronto-based fund manager with $221 billion in assets, which bought Burton’s in 2013.
The deal brings together two household names.
Television adverts for Ferrero Rocher, featuring a European ambassador’s reception serving mountains of the foil-wrapped hazelnut chocolates, has been voted among the greatest - and most parodied - of all time.
A spokesman for Ferrero said: “Burton’s Biscuits is a much-loved, authentic and leading biscuits manufacturer who make some iconic brands.
“This acquisition will allow us to enlarge the products offered in the sweet biscuit market, fulfilling the evolving needs and trends of consumers. We look forward to working with the team at Burton’s Biscuits as we build our journey together.”
Burton’s CEO Nick Field said: “We are delighted to be joining the Ferrero-related company, and look forward to bringing together the businesses’ complementary brand portfolios, high-quality capabilities, management talents and highly skilled workforces which offer a compelling strategic rationale and an exciting future for Burton’s."
It is the latest move in a raft of recent acquisitions for Ferrero, coming less than a year after it bought Fox’s Biscuits for £246 million from 2 Sisters Food Group.
In December 2020, Ferrero also acquired Essex cereal bar and muesli maker Eat Natural.
The Italian food group also owns chocolate business Thorntons, which now operates online and sells through grocery stores after shutting all 61 stores for good during the latest lockdown
Houlihan Lokey Inc. advised Ferrero on the deal, while Ontario Teachers worked with Stamford Partners LLP.