McVities is the UK's leading biscuit company, controlling several of its best-loved sweet snack brands, including such household names as Jaffa Cakes, Digestives, Rich Tea, Penguin and Hobnobs. Nielsen (for The Grocer) estimated combined sales of around £467m in 2018. McVities was until 2014 the last remaining subsidiary of United Biscuits. That group had already scaled back operations considerably since its heyday in the 1980s when its footprint extended as far afield as the US and China, and its portfolio went well beyond biscuits to include confectionery, frozen foods and even fast food restaurants. The move into the US in particular, through the acquisition of local cookie company Keebler, created significant financial problems, which eventually led to a huge slow-motion restructuring which lasted for almost a decade until the slimmed down group was acquired by private equity investors in 2006. It was put up for sale again in 2010 but no single buyer was found. Savoury division KP Snacks was sold in 2012 to Intersnack of Germany. A deal was agreed with Turkey's biggest food company, Yildiz for the remainder of UB in 2014. The United Biscuits corporate name was subsequently dropped in favour of the McVities banner. Yildiz subsequently consolidated its snack portfolio under the umbrella of Pladis Global. McVities is still partnered by low-cal Go Ahead biscuits, the Jacob's savoury crackers business and BN and Verkade sweet biscuits in Europe. Also under the Pladis banner are Godiva chocolates and the extensive Ulker biscuit and confectionery business in Turkey. Corporate entity Pladis Foods reported revenues of £1.1bn in 2017, including £767m in the UK. Former PepsiCo and SC Johnson executive Salman Amin was appointed as CEO of Pladis Global in 2019. Nick Bunker is managing director, UK & Ireland.
Capsule checked 10th January 2019
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Who are the competitors of McVities? United Biscuits' main competitors are Mondelez (approx 14% local share in the UK), Nestle (7%), Fox's (6%) and Burton's Biscuits (4%). See Food Sector for other companies
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Historical profile information for McVities
Adbrands Social Media 12th Mar 2018: "The Crane Driver". Grey London's cuddly kittens (and other animals) for McVitie's biscuits were one of the country's most popular ad campaigns. But sooner or later all good things must come to an end, and so it is with the "Sweeet" campaign after a happy and successful four years. It's a hard act to follow, but Grey have come up with something equally heart-warming, if not quite so cute.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Aug 2016: Italian confectioner Ferrero is to acquire Belgian biscuitmaker Delacre for an undisclosed sum. Formerly part of the UK-based United Biscuits, Delacre has been owned since 2014 by Turkish group Yildiz, and is now part of that group's Pladis snacks arm. If the deal is completed, Ferrero will take charge of the Delacre and Delichoc biscuit brands.
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Mar 2015: Martin Glenn, the former Walkers and Iglo Birds Eye chief, has resigned as head of UK food company United Biscuits, following its acquisition by Turkish conglomerate Yildiz. Instead he will become new CEO of the English Football Association. Jeff van der Eems succeeds him at UB.
Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Nov 2014: The UK's favourite biscuit brand McVitie's is to find a new home - in Turkey, no less. United Biscuits' private equity owners have accepted a bid from Turkish group Yildiz Holding, which will become the world's #3 biscuit producer after Mondelez and Kellogg. That follows a protracted auction of the business. The deal price was not disclosed but is thought to be around £2.2bn, roughly twice UB's sales last year. Yildiz is Turkey's biggest food company, the owner of leading local cookie brand Ulker as well as numerous other products from margarine and culinary sauces to beverages and frozen foods. It already has some experience of Western markets, through the ownership since 2008 of luxury Belgian chocolatier Godiva.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Sep 2014: Buyers are circling British snacks company United Biscuits, best-known for its McVitie's brand. Although UB's private equity owners are said to favour an IPO, they have also been contacted by a number of potential trade buyers, including San Miguel Pure Foods of the Philippines and UK competitor Burton's Biscuits. Kellogg's has also been rumoured to be considering a bid, to create a local partner for its US Keebler cookies division.
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