China's Bright Food sells Weetabix to US's Post for $1.8 bn

Weetabix, which also makes Alpen muesli, is Britain's second-largest ready-to-eat cereal maker overall, and the 85-year-old Weetabix brand is the nation's top-selling cereal. Bright acquired 60% of Weetabix in 2012 from London-based buyout company Lion Capital LLP, in a deal that valued the United Kingdom cereal company at £1.2 billion, including debt.

The acquisition of Weetabix's manufacturing and distribution assets in Europe should also allow Post to more easily digest other overseas businesses that might become available, in cereal and beyond, Chief Executive Rob Vitale said.

Weetabix is expected to contribute £120million of adjusted annual pre-tax earnings before cost savings, which are set to be about £20million a year three years after the deal completes.

Northamptonshire-based Weetabix, which has a royal warrant, was family-owned until 2004, when it was bought by private equity firm Lion Capital.

Post is adding a British breakfast standard to its stable.

He said: " We have long admired Weetabix as a leader in cereal and believe it will be a fantastic strategic fit within Post.

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Turrell will assume the newly created role of chairman of Weetabix with responsibility for overseeing the integration of Weetabix into the Post portfolio.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said it was not surprising that one of the UK's largest cereal brands remained in foreign ownership, due to the pound's weakness.

"This is a part of our internationalisation strategy. Going forward Bright will stick to our overseas push", a company spokesman said.

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But that wasn't enough to crack the market in China, so its current owners Bright Food Group chose to sell.

Bright Food and Post Holdings confirmed the agreed takeover, which was first reported earlier today by the Financial Times.