Burton Latimer cereal giant sold to US firm in £1.4 billion deal

Weetabix is based in Burton Latimer
Weetabix is based in Burton Latimer

The Weetabix Food Company, owners of one of Britain’s leading cereal brands, has welcomed the news it is to be acquired by Post Holdings, Inc.

The deal values Weetabix, which is based at Burton Latimer, at £1.4 billion.

Weetabix CEO Giles Turrell has welcomed the news

Weetabix CEO Giles Turrell has welcomed the news

The acquisition comes on the back of the growth in Weetabix’s UK market share for cereals and drinks, rising from 15.3 per cent to 16.4 per cent, in the past year as consumers look for more nutritious, tasty and convenient breakfast choices.

Post Holdings, Inc., which has its headquarters in St Louis, Missouri, in America, is a consumer packaged goods holding company with a broad product portfolio across food including ready-to-eat cereal, value-added egg products, protein shakes, bars and powders, peanut and other nut butters, and granola.

Through its Post Consumer Brands business, Post Holdings is a leader in the North American ready-to-eat cereal category.

It is hoped the combination of Post and Weetabix will boost international growth opportunities on both sides.

News of the acquisition was welcomed by Giles Turrell, CEO of Weetabix Food Company, who said: “Today’s deal is great news for the team at Weetabix and all those who love our brands.

“The past five years have seen us increase our branded sales at home and overseas.

“Post is a leader within its markets and shares our commitment to providing great tasting nutritious products for the whole family.

“I’m confident they will help us open doors for continued expansion.”

Alongside Weetabix, the Weetabix Food Company also produces popular breakfast brands including Weetabix Minis, Alpen and Weetos.

In 2014, it launched a breakfast drinks business, Weetabix On The Go.

This has grown rapidly, with sales of more than £15 million in 2016.

As a standalone brand, it would now be in the top 20 breakfast brands in the UK, having grown 70 per cent in 2016.

Weetabix is headquartered in Burton Latimer and has factories in Burton Latimer and Corby.

It also has operations in North America, South Africa, Germany and Spain.

Weetabix is majority owner of a joint venture in Kenya that serves the African market and Weetabix Food Company exports its brands to more than 90 countries around the world.

In recent years, Weetabix has seen strong growth in China which is now its third-largest market after the UK/Ireland and North America.

Post Holdings has agreed in principle to establish a joint venture with previous owners the Bright Food Group and Barings Private Equity Asia to manage the Chinese operations.

Despite the news being welcomed by Weetabix bosses, Unite, the largest union in the country, has asked for an urgent meeting with the new American owner of Weetabix to seek assurances about job security.

Unite represents more than 110 members, including engineering and technical staff at its sites in Burton Latimer and Corby.

Regional officer for Unite Sally Mortimer said: “We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the new owner to seek assurances on job security and to ascertain the business plan going forward.

“We want to work constructively with the new management team to ensure the success of the iconic Weetabix brand and to safeguard the future employment for our hardworking and dedicated members.”