Brand behind Britain's favourite sweets for sale

Thu, 15 Feb 2018

Some of the UK’s most beloved confectionery brands - including Barratt, Dip Dab and Sherbert Fountains - are being put up for sale by their private equity owner with a £110 million price tag.

Tangerine Confectionery, the parent company for several classic sweet products such as Fruit Salad and Black Jack, is to be auctioned later this year by Blackstone, the multinational private equity firm that owns it.

The sale will be advised by Houlihan Lokey, an investment bank. Industry insiders expect the business to fetch somewhere between £100 million and £120 million.

Though it typically aims for much larger acquisitions, Blackstone took control of the UK confectionery company back in 2011. At the time, Tangerine also owned the Butterkist popcorn brand, though this was sold last year to the German parent company KP Snacks.

Founded in 2006 through a merger of traditional confectionery companies Taveners, Daintree and Parrs, Tangerine grew through the late 2000s with a series of acquisitions.

In August 2006 it took control of Blackpool-based Burton Foods’ confectionery arm before purchasing Monkhill Confectionery from Cadbury in 2008 for £58 million. The deal included several product lines, including Barratts and Trebor Basset Mints, and factories in Cleckheaton, Pontefract and York.

Today, Tangerine has five factories in Blackpool, Liverpool and the previous locations, as well as its headquarters at Pontefract in West Yorkshire.

Recently times have been hard for the sweet maker, however, with the brand enjoying varied successes under Blackstone’s ownership.

Despite a resurgent demand for ‘retro’ brands among the UK buying public, broader market trends have offset Tangerine’s growth, especially as many consumers switch to sugar-free and other healthy snacking options.

Accounts filed at Companies House reveal that Tangerine’s sales declined from £151.9 million 2015 to hit £139.3 million the next year.

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