Blackstone and PAI agree United Biscuits acquisition

Allen & Overy client United Biscuits has finally agreed to be sold to a private equity consortium comprising Blackstone and PAI for £1.6bn.

The deal created roles for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which represented Cinven and MidOcean, the former co…


Allen & Overy client United Biscuits (UB) has finally agreed to be sold to a private equity consortium comprising Blackstone and PAI for £1.6bn.

A Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer team led by David Higgins and Farah Ispahani advised the former controlling shareholders of United Biscuits, Cinven and MidOcean, Herbert Smith and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett teamed up to advise successful bidders Blackstone and PAI.

Corporate partners James Milne and Mark Geday led at Herbert Smith. The team had advised Blackstone in the past, including its £2.5bn acquisition of Scottish & Newcastle pubs as part of Spirit Amber Holdings. Last year, Blackstone acquired Cadbury Schweppes’ European drinks interests.

Herbert Smith worked closely with Simpson Thacher, whose team was headed by corporate partner Michael Wolfson and finance partner Euan Gorrie.

At A&O, corporate partner David Wootton and Mark Gearing led with senior associate Gordon Milne for UB.

The way had been cleared for Blackstone and PAI to successfully bid for UB by Premier Foods, which owns the Branston and Ambrosia brands, bowing out of the running in September. That also removed a potential conflict of interest for A&O, which in addition to representing UB was advising the financing of Premier’s bid.

The deal will be financed through equity split equally by PAI and Blackstone as well as debt financing. JPMorgan was the lead financial adviser, advised by Linklaters.