Golden Wonder sold for over £300m

LONDON - Two years after it was bought by a private equity firm for £156m, Golden Wonder has been sold to private-label snack producer The Snack Factory in a deal estimated to be worth over £300m.

Golden Wonder produces Nik Naks, Wheat Crunchies and Golden Wonder crisps. It is also responsible for the Cheesy Wotsits brand, which is being sold as part of a separate deal to PepsiCo-owned rival Walkers.

The Market Harborough-based company employs around 1,400 staff and has manufacturing sites in Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.

The deal is subject to a review by the Office of Fair Trading, which is expected to take around six weeks.

Private equity firm Bridgepoint bought Golden Wonder two years ago after fighting off competition from PepsiCo and rival private equity group Phildrew Ventures. The company was originally sold to a management buyout in 1995, which bought the company from its owners Dalgety for £68m.

Through Walkers, PepsiCo dominates the UK crisps market, with Golden Wonder and its brands trailing in second with a 13% market share. Other players in the market include KP, which owns the Brannigans brand.

Last year, Golden Wonder made profits of £14m on sales of £161m. Bartle Bogle Hegarty handles its advertising.

Founded in 1947 by a Scottish baker called William Alexander, Golden Wonder claims to have been first to launch ready salted and cheese and onion flavoured crisps.

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