Baring Private Equity Asia Agrees to Sell Weetabix to Post Holdings
China Expansion to Continue Post-Divestment
Baring Private Equity Asia today announced that a fund advised by it (“BPEA”) has agreed to sell its ownership in Weetabix Limited (“Weetabix”) to NYSE-listed consumer packaged goods company Post Holdings, Inc. (“Post”).
Weetabix is a leading packaged food company that primarily produces ready-to-eat (“RTE”) cereal products spanning branded and private label. Founded in 1932, Weetabix holds the number two overall position in the UK RTE cereal category. Its portfolio includes the iconic Weetabix brand, which holds the number one brand position in the UK RTE cereal category, as well as Alpen (the number one muesli brand in the UK), Barbara’s, Weetos and Ready Brek.
BPEA invested in Weetabix alongside Chinese State-Owned Enterprise (“SOE”) Bright Food Group (“Bright Foods”). During the tenure of BPEA’s and Bright Foods’ ownership, Weetabix successfully entered the Chinese market. From a nominal distribution base at the time of initial investment, Weetabix’s products are today sold through more than 7,000 points of distribution across China, as well as through a burgeoning e-commerce site.
The combination of Post and Weetabix creates a diversified global food company with international cross-selling opportunities through expansion of Post products in select international markets, including in Asia.
Following the transaction, BPEA will continue to assist in the growth of the Weetabix business in China, and has agreed in principle to establish a joint venture with Post and Bright Food Group to manage the Weetabix China operations. The commitment of all parties to further invest in the China business can be seen as validation of the importance of the country and the strength of the Weetabix distribution network now in place.
Guy Cui, Managing Director of BPEA, commented: “We have been proud to be associated with Weetabix over the past two years. With Chinese consumers increasingly focused on safety and quality, a brand such as Weetabix still has significant potential to grow well beyond the 7,000 points of presence it has today. We believe that the business is in good hands with Post and look forward to continuing with the China expansion in the coming years. We’re also pleased to remain in a partnership with Bright Foods following our very positive and successful experience to date.”
“We have long admired Weetabix as a leader in cereal and believe it will be a fantastic strategic fit within Post,” said Rob Vitale, Post’s President and CEO. “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.”
The transaction is expected to be completed in the third calendar quarter (Post’s fiscal fourth quarter), subject to the satisfaction of limited closing conditions, including the expiration of waiting periods under U.S. antitrust laws.
About Baring Private Equity Asia
Baring Private Equity Asia is one of the largest and most established independent alternative asset management firms in Asia, with a total committed capital of over USD10 billion. The firm runs a pan-Asian investment program, sponsoring buyouts and providing growth capital to companies for expansion or acquisitions, as well as a private credit and a pan-Asian real estate private equity investment program. The firm has been investing in Asia since its formation in 1997 and has over 140 employees located across offices in Hong Kong, China, India, Japan and Singapore. Baring Asia currently has over 41 portfolio companies active across Asia with a total of 178,000 employees and sales of approximately $35 billion in 2016. For more information, please visit www.bpeasia.com.
For further information:
Baring Private Equity Asia
+852 9852 9263
+852 6756 1127