ST. LOUIS — Post Holdings, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire the Weetabix Food Co. from the Bright Food Group, Shanghai, China, for £1.4 billion ($1.77 billion). Based in the United Kingdom, Weetabix is the manufacturer of cereals, mueslis, oat granolas, breakfast drinks and nutrition bars sold under such brands as Weetabix, Oatibix, Alpen and Barbara’s.
|Rob Vitale, president and c.e.o. of Post|
“We have long admired Weetabix as a leader in cereal and believe it will be a fantastic strategic fit within Post,” said Rob Vitale, president and chief executive officer of Post. “Combining together two category leaders continues our strategy of strengthening our portfolio in stable categories and diversifying into new markets, bringing much-loved brands to significantly more customers globally. We are excited about the growth opportunities that this acquisition brings.”
The acquisition of Weetabix will extend Post Holding’s reach around the world. The company has operations in North America, South Africa, Germany and Spain. Weetabix Food Co. is also the majority owner of a joint venture in Kenya that serves the African market.
In recent years, Weetabix said it has seen strong growth in China, which is now its third-largest market after the U.K./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 once the acquisition is complete.
|Giles Turrell, c.e.o. of Weetabix Food Co.|
“Today’s deal is great news for the team at Weetabix and all those who love our brands,” said Giles Turrell, c.e.o. of Weetabix Food Co. “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.”
At the closing of the transaction, Sally Abbott, Weetabix’s director of marketing, will become managing director of Weetabix U.K. and Ireland and report to Mr. Vitale. Mr. Turrell will assume the newly created role of chairman of Weetabix with responsibility for overseeing the integration of Weetabix into the Post portfolio. The other members of Weetabix’s existing management team will continue to lead the organization.
The transaction is expected to close in the third calendar quarter and is subject to closing conditions, including the expiration of waiting periods under U.S. antitrust laws.In conjunction with the acquisition announcement, Post Holdings also released preliminary financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2017, which ended March 31. The company said it expects to report a loss of $4 million on sales of $1.25 billion. The preliminary results compare negatively to the same period of the previous year when Post Holdings recorded net income of $1.5 million on sales of $1.28 billion.