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MANILA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - The Philippines’ most diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp is considering making a bid for British snacks maker United Biscuits (IPO-UNI.L), its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Days after the group bowed out of the airline business, chief executive Ramon Ang confirmed in a text message that San Miguel was weighing up a bid for United Biscuits, owner of snack brands such as Jaffa Cakes and Twiglets.
“We are evaluating a bid for United Biscuits,” Ang said in text message to Reuters.
United Biscuits’ private equity owners, Blackstone Group and PAI Partners, have been working on plans for a sale or a public share listing that would take place by the end of the year. The auction for United Biscuits is reported to be worth 2 billion pounds ($3.22 billion).
San Miguel will be up against other bidders such as breakfast cereal maker Kellogg and Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital, both of which have indicated interest in buying United Biscuits.
Sky News reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabian food producer Savola Group, Italy’s Ferrero, Turkey’s Ulker and rival UK biscuit maker Burton’s owner Ontario Teachers Pension Plan had held talks with United Biscuits in recent days.
On Monday, San Miguel said it signed a deal to sell its entire stake in Philippine Airlines back to its partner, in a transaction worth $1 billion including the group’s advances to the carrier. San Miguel had asked that the payment be delivered in a week.
Last month, Ang told Reuters that San Miguel may concentrate on its food business once it exits Philippine Airlines, which it operated for two years and nursed back to profitability.
Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco