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Weetabix Bid Considered By Chinese State-Backed Company

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A Chinese state-backed food company has renewed its hunger for British brands by holding talks to buy cereal business Weetabix, it has been reported.

Shanghai firm Bright Food has been in talks with Lion Capital, Weetabix's private equity owner, for several weeks, according to the Sunday Times.

In 2010, Bright Food considered a £2bn deal to buy United Biscuits, the company behind Hula Hoops and Jaffa Cakes, but the talks fell through.

Weetabix dates back to 1932 and was family owned until it was bought by Texan private equity firm, Hicks Muse Tate & Furst, in 2004 for £642m.

It is thought Bright Food has placed a value of around £1bn on the Northamptonshire-based business, which sells in 80 countries, employs around 2,000 people and generates annual sales of £423m.

In 2010, Weetabix accounted for 7% of the country's total cereal sales with annual revenues in excess of £100m. Other brands in its portfolio include Alpen, Ready brek and Oatibix.

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