United Biscuits

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United Biscuits
Type Private
Industry Food
Founded 1948
Founders McVitie & Price
MacFarlane Laing
Headquarters Hayes, London,
United Kingdom
Key people Martin Glenn (CEO)
Jeffrey Van Der Eems (COO)
David Fish (Chairman)
Products Brands:

United Biscuits
Gold Bar, Carr's, Tasties, Delacre, Verkade, go ahead!, Wing Dings, Flipper Dipper

Happy Faces, Twiglets, Water Biscuits, Jacob's Oddities

Ginger Nuts, Digestives, Hob Nobs, BN, Rich Tea, Penguin (biscuit), Taxi, Lyle's, Cheddars, Mini Cheddars, Mini Rolls
Revenue £1,142.3 million (2007)
Operating income £141.7 million (2007)
Net income £24.0 million (2007)
Owners The Blackstone Group (50%)
PAI Partners (50%)
Website www.unitedbiscuits.com

United Biscuits ("UB") is a British multinational food manufacturer, makers of McVitie's biscuits, Jacob's Cream Crackers, and Twiglets. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but in December 2006 it was acquired by a consortium of Blackstone Group and PAI Partners.


United Biscuits was formed in 1948 by a merger of two Scottish family businesses: McVitie & Price and MacFarlane Lang.[1]

In 1962, William Crawford & Sons, best known for its shortbread, was acquired for £6 million.[2] In 1965, William MacDonald & Sons was acquired for £2.8 million, and brought the Penguin brand to the group.[3]

In 1972, it acquired Carr's of Carlisle, makers of the eponymous Table Water biscuits, from James Goldsmith's Cavenham Foods for £2.75 million.[4]

United Biscuits acquired the US-based Keebler Company for $53 million in 1974. It also owned the Wimpy Bar fast food restaurant chain between 1977 and 1989.[5]

It acquired the frozen food company Ross Young's from Hanson in 1988 for £335 million.[6]

Keebler was sold for $500 million in 1995.[7]

The company was acquired in May 2000 by Finalrealm, a consortium of financial investors, as well as Nabisco Holdings Corporation: as part of the transaction, UB acquired Nabisco's European businesses.[8]

The company sold Young's Bluecrest in 2001, in order to concentrate on the sweet biscuit sector.[9]

In September 2004 the company bought the UK portion of Groupe Danone's Jacob's Biscuit Group for £240 million, including Cream Crackers and Twiglets.[10]

In July 2006 it sold its Southern European biscuits business to Kraft Foods, which in turn left the owner syndicate.[11]

In October 2006 the company was sold to a consortium made up of the Blackstone Group and PAI Partners.[12] The deal was completed in December 2006.[13]

In December 2012 UB agreed the sale of its KP Snacks business to Intersnack.


The core of the business is in the United Kingdom, where it produces biscuits under a number of brand names including: McVitie's biscuits and Jacob's Cream Crackers.

The company manufactures in a number of countries across Europe, such as the Netherlands, France and Belgium. It also has a manufacturing site in India.

The company's headquarters is in Hayes in suburban West London. The company's main UK distribution centre is at Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

Modernisation and Employee Redundancies[edit]

In December 2013 McVities announced their intention to change the terms and conditions of shop floor employees at the Harlesden plant. This change meant a move from a 5 day 8 hour operation, to a 7 day 12 hour operation. This change happened in mid 2014.

In June 2014 McVities announced their intention to make 157 shop floor roles redundant at their Manchester manufacturing facility.[14] This redundancy announcement was also due to the modernisation agenda of the company and also involves a move from an 8 hour 5 day operation, to a 7 day 12 hour operation. .[15]

United Biscuits Network[edit]

The United Biscuits Network, a closed-circuit radio network serving their factories across the UK which was active from 1970 to 1979, spawned the career of UK radio presenter Steve Allen and TV and radio personality Dale Winton.[16]

In popular culture[edit]

In his 2009 book The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Alain de Botton chronicles his tour and brief experiences with employees of United Biscuits as they launched the "Moments" biscuit line.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A New Biscuit Company." Times [London, England] 19 Mar. 1948: 9.
  2. ^ "United Biscuits Crawfords For More Than £6M." Times [London, England] 24 May 1962: 19.
  3. ^ "£2.8M. Biscuit Merger." Times [London, England] 21 Jan. 1965: 22.
  4. ^ Anthony Rowley. "Cavenham sell biscuit interests for £4m." Times [London, England] 5 July 1972: 19.
  5. ^ "Information on Wimpy's Franchise",Caterer Search. Retrieved on 2008-01-29.
  6. ^ "History". United Biscuits. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  7. ^ United Biscuits Sells Keebler for $500 Million
  8. ^ "UB to weigh up its options". Eurofood. April 25, 2002. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  9. ^ "United Biscuits selling Young's stake". Eurofood. March 29, 2001. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  10. ^ "Danone sells its UK biscuits to United". The Independent. July 24, 2004. Retrieved 2007-04-12. [dead link]
  11. ^ "City sandwich". London: Telegraph. July 11, 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  12. ^ Parkinson, Gary (October 26, 2006). "Private-equity companies snap up United Biscuits in a [pound]1.6bn". The Independent. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  13. ^ "Blackstone and PAI complete purchase of UB" (Press release). United Biscuits. December 15, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  14. ^ "157 jobs could go at McVities". Manchester Evening News. 
  15. ^ "United Biscuits". wikipedia. 
  16. ^ "Pick of the Pops Biography". BBC. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 

External links[edit]