A&O tipped to take United Biscuit deal

Allen & Overy is in line to advise on a potentially massive acquisition as its client United Biscuits (UB) is embroiled in negotiations for a billion-pound takeover.

Interested parties will expect to pay out £1.2bn for the food company, which produces McVitie's Jaffa Cakes and Hula Hoops.

UB has experienced a steady decline in share value over four years. Although the company has confirmed it was in preliminary talks with various parties, a spokeswoman is reluctant to admit it has appointed a legal adviser.

She says: “All I can confirm is that our usual corporate lawyer in potential situations is Allen & Overy.”

Although Hammond Suddards is also a main adviser to United Biscuits, Noel Hutton, corporate finance partner at the firm, says he has not received any instructions.

The names of a number of potential buyers are being touted around the City, including private equity group Hicks Muse Tate & Furst, which counts Weil Gotshal & Manges among its legal advisers.