Kellogg's is leading the way to purchase United Biscuits (UB), according to an industry expert.
The future of UB is still unclear, with three core bidders interested in taking over the company which owns brands such as McVitie's and Jaffa Cakes. Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Turkish food producer Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi are also reported to be interested in UB but Kellogg's is believed to be leading the way.
Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk, Robert Lawson, co-founder of Food Strategy Associate, former UB strategy director and former global director strategy, snacking at Kraft International believes Kellogg's is well placed to take on UB. He explained the company had the "financial muscle and synergies" that would allow it to outbid any other firm within the bidding process.
However, Mr Lawson added that this does not necessarily mean that UB is at the top of Kellogg's' priorities. While there has been little to no interest among private finance groups in the first round bidding process a number of other firms have been mentioned as interested parties.
The likes of diverse Philippine conglomerate San Miguel, the Saudi Arabia-based Savola Group and Italy's Ferrero have all been touted as potential suitors for UB. Mr Lawson also highlighted the possibility of a bid from Mondelez which he believes would have considerable synergies with UB.
He told the news provider: "There are bidders, such as Mondelez or Ulker, who might be more interested in parts than the whole and I wouldn't rule out parties teaming up for joint bids."
The uncertainty over the future of UB was felt last week when the company announced it would be cutting up to 157 jobs at its McVitie's factory in Manchester. UB said that it was carrying out the restructuring process in a bid to "minimise impact" as part of a reduction of 630 employees.