Round up

Notable food and drink manufacturing firm acquisitions from 2023

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

A number of notable acquisitions occurred during the past 12 months. Credit: Getty / skynesher
A number of notable acquisitions occurred during the past 12 months. Credit: Getty / skynesher

Related tags acquisition

Food Manufacture rounds up some of the biggest acquisitions that took place across the industry during 2023.

Asda purchases EG Group’s UK business in £2bn deal

Supermarket giant Asda announced the acquisition of EG Group’s UK business in October for an enterprise value of £2bn.

The deal came as part of Asda’s desire to grow its Asda Express brand, which will be rolled out across the 356 EG convenience stores that it acquired.

The deal also saw Asda assume control of 462 Greggs, Burger King and Subway outlets as franchise agreements.

Asda has been jointly owned by private equity firm TDR Capital and Zuber and Mohsin Issa since 2021, with the brothers also founding EG Group in 2001.

Speaking at the time, Mohsin Issa said: “With the deal complete, we can focus on delivering the growth opportunities. That means lowering the price of fuel for more motorists, bringing Asda’s great value and quality to more communities, offering greater opportunities to our supplier partners and creating sustainable job opportunities for colleagues in our stores and depots​.”​

Read the full story here​.

Premier Foods acquires protein brand FUEL10K

Premier Foods acquired protein brand FUEL10K in October in a bid to accelerate the firm’s entry into the breakfast food and drink market. The brand produces protein enriched breakfast items such as granola and porridge.

The approximately £34m valuation of FUEL10K was based on projected revenues of £21m for the year ending 31 March 2024.

Premier Foods will initially pay £29.6m, with a minimum of £4m set to be paid in the financial year of 2026/27. Any further payments are subject to meeting certain targets.

Reflecting on the deal, Premier Food chief executive Alex Whitehouse said that FUEL10K offered a product that appeals to a “youngerdemographic​”.

We expect to deliver significant further profitable growth of FUEL10K through the deployment of our successful branded growth model​,” ​Whitehouse added.

Meanwhile, a FUEL10K spokesperson added: “Having built the foundations from start-up, the FUEL10K brand is now primed to accelerate into the future and achieve even more great things​.”

Read the full story here​.

Smithfield Murray acquired to form pre-prepared meat group

Meat processor Smithfield Murray was acquired by private equity firm Endless in March as part of its plan to create a pre-prepared meat group.

The move combined Smithfield with Yorkshire Premier Meat to create a group that supplies raw poultry and pre-prepared meat ingredients to food manufacturers in the UK. Headquartered in Manchester, Smithfield is one of Europe's leading suppliers of prepared raw poultry.

Former Karro Foods chief executive Di Walker was named as the group’s chair, while Smithfield managing director Damien Murray and general manager Martin Grady were kept in their roles.

Despite the challenges being faced in the poultry supply chain at this time, the business has proved itself to offer exceptional levels of service quality, and this investment alongside YPM is transformational for both businesses, with fantastic potential for growth and further follow-on investment​,” Walker said.

Murray described the creation of the new group as “fantastic​” and credited the Smithfield team for its hard work.

This also opens up exciting opportunities for growth, working closely with our loyal customers and suppliers​,” added Murray.

Read the full story here​.

Lees Foods bought for £5.7m

Cake manufacturer Lees Food was purchased by Finsbury Food Group in January for £5.7m.

Known for producing snowballs and teacakes, Lees employs more than 200 members of staff at its site in Coatbridge, Scotland. As part of the deal, the baking giant purchased 100% of the share capital of Lees.

John Duffy, chief executive at Finsbury said the acquisition represented a strategic move that would allow the group to build its manufacturing presence in Scotland.

Lees currently has a well-established position in the UK meringue category and strong relationships across a high quality and diverse customer base​,” ​Duffy added.

This provides Finsbury with the opportunity to build upon both businesses’ existing retail relationships and unlock further commercial opportunities, including out of home. We look forward to welcoming Lees to the wider group​.”​

Read the full story here​.

Around Noon secures control of The Soho Sandwich Company

Around Noon announced the acquisition of The Soho Sandwich Company in June, boosting its turnover to £80m in the process.

As part of the deal, The Soho Sandwich Company retained its branding and remained under the management of Daniel Silverston. The business employs 300 members of staff and operates a north London production facility.

The Soho Sandwich Company distributes more than 15 million sandwiches to consumers across the UK and Around Noon chief executive Gareth Chambers said that the business has built a “strong reputation for quality, excellence and innovation​”.

This represents a fantastic opportunity for all involved due to the incredible alignment in terms of our values and core purpose​,” Chambers added.

Meanwhile, chairman Howard Farquhar noted that the acquisition would allow the firm to grow turnover closer to its £100m target.

This deal is the third acquisition to have occurred since Gareth and I completed the MBO in 2016​,”​ he said.

It is also a significant opportunity for the team at The Soho Sandwich Company and their existing customers​.”​

Read the full story here​.

Serious Sweets acquires Nom Bites

The Serious Sweet Company (SSC) acquired gluten-free sweet treats maker Nom Bites and its marshmallow brand Lexi’s in August.

Founded in 2020 by Alexei Khatiwada, Nom Bites has seen Lexi’s rice treats and protein bars listed by Ocado and Amazon. The move by SSC was the latest in a series of acquisitions, which also saw it purchase honeycomb brand Mt Stanley’s, marshmallow brand Mallow & Marsh and the wholesale manufacturing arm of John Bull.

Reflecting on the deal Rob Whitehead, SSC managing director, said: “Gluten, dairy and nut free bars fit perfectly into our stable of current brands, enabling us to offer customers a combination of indulgent treats and more healthy treats, ideal for customers with specific dietary needs, or those looking for a healthier snack​.”

Speaking at the time, Khatiwada described the move as an exciting milestone for Nom Bites and the Lexi’s brand.

He continued: “I’m proud that Lexi’s has helped deliver more inclusive treats to a mainstream audience and it’s been a pleasure to see the growth of the brand, which started in my home kitchen and has now sold millions of treats across the UK​.”​

Read the full story here​.

VFC adds two meat alternative brands to portfolio

The past several months have been busy for VFC after it acquired both Meatless Farm and Clive’s Purely Plants.

The first move occurred in June when it rescued Meatless Farm from administration and was followed in October with the purchase of Clive’s.

Both brands retained their identities following the deals, and put VFC in what its chief executive Dave Sparrow described as a “formidable” ​position.

With three strong brands experiencing substantial growth, we are well-positioned to further penetrate the retail and foodservice sectors in the UK and Europe​​,” Sparrow added.

Clive’s produces a range of vegan pies, quiches and nut roasts, while Meatless Farm specialises in plant-based meat alternatives.

Clive’s managing director Esther Pearson concluded: “We are committed to maintaining business as usual with all existing customers and ensuring that we uphold our high standards of customer service​.”

Read the full story here​.

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