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Family-owned mergers in rude health as Jordans joins ABF

Weston family-owned Associated British Foods is to merge UK cereal business W Jordan & Son with its own Ryvita brand.

ABF will hold a 62% interest in the new, combined business. The balance will be held by the existing shareholders of Jordans, which is owned by the Jordan family, and from whom ABF acquired a 20% shareholding last year. The Jordan family will remain fully involved in the business.

"I am delighted that the relationship built with the Jordan family over the last year has enabled the merging of these two fine businesses," said George Weston, founding family member and CEO of ABF. "We are creating a strong new business and I look forward to the further development of both the Jordans and Ryvita brands."

With the merger ABF is aiming to capitalise on the increasing consumer demand for natural ingredients and healthy eating, while the Jordans brand will benefit from faster overseas expansion through ABF's international grocery presence.

Ryvita has an 80 year heritage and has become a byword for crispbread, while Jordans is a successful €107 million breakfast cereal and cereal bar business.

"Both [my brother] David and I believe passionately in making good quality wholegrain cereal to promote the health of our customers and protect the countryside," commented Jordans chairman Bill Jordan.

"Jordans has now reached the point where the benefit of wholegrain cereal is understood by a mainstream, and international, market," he continued. "This new partnership gives us scale and the ability to share our beliefs, in the benefits of natural foods and protecting the countryside, with even more people."

It is the second time in recent years that ABF, which has a turnover of €8.6 billion, has purchased another UK family business. In 2007 it acquired Indian food company Patak's from the founding Pathak family.

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