Nutella-maker Ferrero said on Wednesday it had reached a deal to buy Britain's Fox's Biscuits in a move to expand its biscuit business in Europe and take advantage of an increased consumption as many Britons work from home.
Ferrero has been expanding rapidly under the helm of Giovanni Ferrero, son of Michele, creator of famous hazelnut spread Nutella. It did not disclose the value of the deal.
The accord is a further signal of Ferrero's intention to strengthen its position in the category known in the industry as 'sweets consumed outside meals' and limit its reliance on chocolate products.
Under the deal, Ferrero's Belgian holding CTH will acquire Fox's and other cookie brands from Northern Food Grocery Group Limited (NFGG), part of British food group Boparan Holdings Limited, the Italian company said in a statement.
It is the second acquisition in Britain for family-owned Ferrero, which bought chocolate maker Thorntons in 2015.
Fox's, a 167-year old company that sells a wide range of snacks including British tea favourites such as Crinkle Crunch and chocolate-dipped Viennese, adds to Ferrero's acquisitions of European biscuits makers Kelsen Group and Delacre in recent years.
Boparan is expected to focus on its original poultry business after offloading Fox and the other brands.
The ownership of NFGG production plants in Kirkham and Batley will also go to Ferrero, the statement added.
The acquired brands had sales of around £157 million ($202.42 million) in the last year, Ferrero said, adding it aimed at finalizing the transaction "in the next few months".
Investment bank Houlihan Lokey is the financial advisor of Ferrero on the acquisition.