Some of Britain’s best-known sweets brands, including Fox’s Glacier Mints and Sherbet Fountain, will come under common ownership as part of a £100m-plus deal involving Blackstone, the global private equity titan.
Sky News has learnt that Blackstone has struck a deal to sell Tangerine Confectionery to Valeo, a pan-European consumer foods producer which is partly-owned by Capvest, another private equity firm.
The deal, which is expected to complete in the coming weeks, will bring together Tangerine’s portfolio, which includes Barratt, Dip Dab and Sherbet Fountain, with Big Bear Confectionery.
Big Bear, which counts Poppets, Pedro and Fox’s Glacier among its brands, was bought by Valeo last year from Raisio, a Finnish company.
The prospective merger of the two sets of sweets brands will come as food manufacturers contend with growing consumer demand for healthier products.
Despite those trends, the appetite for ‘retro’ confectionery products has remained strong in recent years.
The other division of Tangerine, the popcorn brand Butterkist, was sold to Intersnack, the German owner of KP Snacks, last year.
Houlihan Lokey, the investment bank, has been advising Blackstone on the sale.
The other brands in Tangerine’s portfolio include Black Jack, Flumes, Fruit Salad, Wham and York Fruits.
Blackstone, which typically acquires businesses many times the size of Blackpool-based Tangerine, took control of the company in 2011.
Accounts filed at Companies House show that sales declined from £151.9m in 2015 to £139.3m the following year.
Tangerine attributed the slump to the weaker performance of its own-label business for retailers and “uncertainties caused by the debate on sugar [which] led to the reduced promotion of sweets in the trade”.
Blackstone declined to comment, while Capvest could not be reached for comment.