United Biscuits

United Biscuits
Industry Food
Founded 1948
Founder McVitie & Price
MacFarlane Lang
Headquarters Hayes, London,
United Kingdom
Key people
Jeff van der Eems[1] (CEO)
Products Sweet and salty snacks
Revenue £1,096.1 million (2013)
£141.7 million (2007)
£24.0 million (2007)
Parent pladis Global - Yıldız Holding
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 November 2014 it was acquired by Yıldız Holding.


United Biscuits (UB) was formed in 1948 by a merger of two Scottish family businesses: McVitie & Price and MacFarlane Lang.[2]

In 1962, William Crawford & Sons, best known for its shortbread, was acquired for £6 million.[3] In 1965, William MacDonald & Sons was acquired for £2.8 million, and brought the Penguin brand to the group.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

It acquired the frozen food company Ross Young's from Hanson in 1988 for £335 million.[7]

Keebler was sold for $500 million in 1995.[8]

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.[9]

The company sold Young's Bluecrest in 2001, in order to concentrate on the sweet biscuit sector.[10]

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.[11]

In July 2006 it sold its Southern European biscuits business to Kraft Foods, which in turn left the owner syndicate.[12]

In October 2006, MidOcean Partners sold the company to a consortium made up of the Blackstone Group and PAI Partners.[13] The deal was completed in December 2006.[14][15]

In December 2012 UB agreed the sale of its KP Snacks business to Intersnack for £500 million.[16]

On 3 November 2014, private equity funds managed by Blackstone and PAI Partners announced the sale of United Biscuits to Yıldız Holding.[17]


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.


In December 2013 McVities announced their intention to modernize the Harlesden site to increase production capacity, improve flexibility and thereby secure the long-term survival of the London factory. This change meant a move from a 5-day 8-hour operation to a 7-day 12-hour operation and was introduced following Union agreement. The first part of this change happened in June 2014 and is being introduced in 5 phases over 2014 and 2015. The factory will be fully 24/7 in April 2015 and will increase production capacity by 40%. When the changes are fully implemented, the number of employees on the site will increase to around 580.

In June 2014, McVities announced their intention to make up to 157 shop floor roles redundant at their Manchester manufacturing facility[18] as part of a similar modernisation programme that saw the site move to a similar 7-day operation.


United Biscuits Network

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.[20]

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


  1. Jeffrey Peter Van Der Eems works at UNITED BISCUITS (UK) LIMITED since 02 September 2005 - http://www.cbetta.com/director/jeffrey-peter-van-der-eems-3
  2. "A New Biscuit Company." The Times [London, England] 19 March 1948: 9.
  3. "United Biscuits Crawfords For More Than £6M." The Times [London, England] 24 May 1962: 19.
  4. "£2.8M. Biscuit Merger." The Times [London, England] 21 January 1965: 22.
  5. Anthony Rowley. "Cavenham sell biscuit interests for £4m." The Times [London, England] 5 July 1972: 19.
  6. "Information on Wimpy's Franchise",Caterer Search. Retrieved on 29 January 2008.
  7. "History". United Biscuits. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  8. United Biscuits Sells Keebler for $500 Million
  9. "UB to weigh up its options". Eurofood. 25 April 2002. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
  10. "United Biscuits selling Young's stake". Eurofood. 29 March 2001. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
  11. "Danone sells its UK biscuits to United". The Independent. 24 July 2004. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
  12. "City sandwich". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  13. Parkinson, Gary (26 October 2006). "Private-equity companies snap up United Biscuits in a [pound]1.6bn". The Independent. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
  14. "Blackstone and PAI complete purchase of UB" (Press release). United Biscuits. 15 December 2006. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
  15. "Cinven, MidOcean to sell United Biscuits" (Press release). Alt Assets. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2014. (subscription required (help)).
  16. "KP Snacks snapped up by Intersnack in £500m deal". Manchester Evening News. 5 December 2012.
  17. "Turkish food giant gobbles up United Biscuits". The Daily Telegraph. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  18. "157 jobs could go at McVities". Manchester Evening News.
  19. "United Bars are the eighties sweets we need to see back on our shelves," The Daily Edge, 9 February 2016
  20. "Pick of the Pops Biography". BBC. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
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