Major UK food and drink brands will continue to be sold to foreign businesses, according to Julian Wild, partner at law firm Rollits.
Wild told FoodManufacture.co.uk that he expected a number of food and drink businesses, including Unilever, debt-laden Premier Foods and Bakkavör, to sell their brands in the near future.
“I am uncertain about Unilever’s long term ambition; I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the business off-loaded. There is still a question mark over what will happen at Premier Foods and Bakkavör is still heavily in debt. So we could see more acquisitions going forward.”
Wild said there was a growing trend of big players in the Far East acquiring iconic UK brands.
The driver behind this trend was companies in the Far East being in a better position to make acquisitions than a recession hit UK.
'Pretty iconic British brands'
As a result of this, foreign firms have been able to buy into “some pretty iconic British brands”, Wild added.
“The UK is seen as a good place to do business because many brands have been put up for sale and it is easier to do deals in the UK than other countries.”
Earlier this month Lucozade and Ribena were the latest British brands to fall into foreign ownership, when GlaxoSmithKline sold the drink brands to Japanese firm Suntory for £1.35bn.
Meanwhile, to view our interactive timeline charting the most significant acquisitions of UK brands by foreign business over the past decade, click here.
Acquisitions and mergers will be one of the topics under discussion at Food Manufacture's Business' Leaders Forum, to be staged in London on January 21 2014.
The free morning forum is open to senior executives in food and drink manufacturing businesses. If you would like to attend please contact Rick Pendrous, editor Food Manufacture, at firstname.lastname@example.org .