Friday, May 4, 2012

Weetabix nationalised... by China: Communist state snaps up another British brand

Weetabix, the breakfast cereal produced in Britain since 1932, has effectively been sold to an arm of the Chinese state.

Bright Foods, which is run by the council responsible for the city of Shanghai, is paying £720million for a 60 per cent controlling stake in the company.

The cereal manufacturer, based in Northamptonshire, was family owned until 2004 when it was bought by a Texan private equity firm, Lion Capital. Now, the business is effectively being nationalised – not by the British government, but by the Chinese.

The Chinese hope to boost sales of Weetabix – based on its credentials as a healthy product – in China, across Asia and in North America.

Currently, the Chinese do not have Western-style breakfast cereals and are more likely to eat savoury rice dishes or deep fried dough, but the nation's wealth is bringing a change in diet.

The purchase by Bright Foods is the latest evidence of how the fabulously wealthy Chinese government and its agencies are looking to snap up iconic British businesses. Read More