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China's leading food group Bright Food has announced plans to acquire a 60% stake in Weetabix, the leading cereal food maker in U.K.
The transaction, which is reportedly the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese company in the food and beverage sector, is expected to be completed in the second half of 2012 if the related approval procedures go smoothly.
According to reports in foreign media, Bright Food will buy the 60% stake from the London-based private equity group Lion Capital, which will still keep the remaining 40% stake. However, the transaction includes a clause enabling Bright Food to acquire the full ownership of Weetabix in two years.
If the acquisition is completed, Bright Food will be able to enter the British and the global food market via the Weetabix brand. Wang Zongnan, chairman of Bright Food, also said that the company will be able to sell the U.K. cereals through its existing distribution channels and through its own shops.
Weetabix is a leading cereal food maker in U.K. Headquartered in Northamptonshire, U.K., the company's products export to over 80 countries and regions around the world. The company was acquired by Lion Capital in 2004.