Hartley's has been in a bit of a sticky situation of late, with its parent company, Premier Foods, looking to sell it after deciding the iconic British brand was no longer a core line. But Hartley’s could soon get out of this jam, if one family business has its way.
Duerr’s, the oldest family-owned jam maker in the UK, is considering buying rival Hartley’s – which is thought to be worth between £170 million (€202 million) and £200 million.
The Manchester-based family business is investigating its options, according to family member and managing director Mark Duerr, but it will all come down to the right fit.
“If the business can align with our proud heritage, quality and history of innovation then naturally we would be interested, but it would be inappropriate to speculate on this without fully evaluating the business,” he said.
As well as a jam-making tradition, the businesses share a history of longevity. Hartley’s was established in 1871, while Duerr’s, founded by Frederick Duerr, celebrated its 130th anniversary last August with a treasure hunt that saw jam-lovers seek out “130 glistening silver jars of luxurious, limited edition Duerr’s marmalade” across the UK.
Meanwhile, St Albans-based Premier Foods, which owns brands such as Hovis bread, Oxo stock cubes and Batchelors beans, is slightly younger. It was founded in 1975 as Hillsdown Holdings and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2004. Last week, it said financial results wouldn’t be as good as expected and announced plans to cut jobs.