Weetabix to be sold to US company for $1.8bn

UK cereal firm Weetabix is to be bought by US firm Post Holdings for $1.8bn (£1.4bn), its owner has confirmed.

Weetabix – made in the UK since 1932 – was put up for sale in January by China’s Bright Food, which bought a 60% stake in 2012.

Bright’s acquisition was the largest by a Chinese firm at the time, but it is believed to have struggled to build significant market share in China.

Chinese consumers prefer a hot, rice-based breakfast to cold cereal.

While Weetabix doubled sales in China in 2016, the UK still accounts for the majority of its sales.

Royal warrant

Post Holdings is the third-largest cereal firm in the US and owns brands including Great Grains, Golden Crisp and Cocoa Pebbles.

Some of the world’s biggest names in food, including the UK’s Associated British Foods and Italy’s Barilla, had been named as possible suitors for Weetabix.

Northamptonshire-based Weetabix, which has a royal warrant, was family-owned until 2004, when it was bought by private equity firm Lion Capital. Its main factory in Kettering produces three billion Weetabix biscuits every year.

It is the largest producer of breakfast cereals in the UK and employs about 2,000 people.

Its products are exported to 80 countries, while it also has factories in Europe, east Africa and North America.

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