US cereal brand Post Holdings has purchased the UK’s iconic Weetabix band in a deal worth £1.4 billion. The cereal was sold by Shanghai-based Bright Food, which acquired a controlling stake in the company in 2012.
Post is currently the third-largest cereal company in the US, specializing in other breakfast cereals including Honey Bunches of Oats and Grape-Nuts. Along it the popular breakfast cereal, the Weetabix portfolio includes Alpen muesli, Ready Brek, Barbara’s and Weetos.
Bright Food originally acquired Weetabix in the hopes that its popularity in China would grow over traditional Asian breakfast items. However, sales of Weetabix were insufficient to capture enough of the market share.
While sales of Weetabix remain highest in the UK, the breakfast cereal is exported to over 90 countries around the world. It is also primarily manufactured in the UK, with all of the wheat used in the product supplied by local farmers.
“We have long admired Weetabix as a leader in cereal and believe it will be a fantastic strategic fit within Post,” said Rob Vitale, Post’s President and CEO. “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.”
Weetabix employs around 1,800 people around the world, and CEO of the company Giles Turrell has already said that he doesn’t not expect there to be job cuts as a result of the transaction. “Post has no footprint or manufacturing in the UK,” said Turrell. “As long as we remain successful in the marketplace we will continue to manufacture at our plants here in Northamptonshire.”
Post’s annual revenues total $5 billion per year, with Weetabix bringing in £410 million in 2016. The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2017.