Private equity has its eyes on the cuppa: Advent International focuses on Unilever’s black tea business
The private equity firm that is hunting one of the UK’s largest defense companies is likely to make a separate bid for Unilever’s black tea business.
Advent International is already seeking a controversial £2.6 billion purchase from Ultra Electronics, a supplier of submarine-hunting technology to the Royal Navy.
And it has now partnered with the Singapore Government Investment Corporation (GIC) to make a joint bid of £4 billion for Unilever’s black tea brands, including PG Tips and Lipton, Sky News reported.
Advent International and Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation are reportedly planning to make a joint offer of £4 billion for Unilever’s black tea brands, including PG Tips and Lipton.
The consumer goods giant effectively put a “for sale” sign over the division in January 2020 when it launched an assessment of its future.
Advent isn’t the only private equity firm interested in buying it, and Carlyle, Cinven, Clayton Dubilier & Rice, and KKR are also said to be poking around.
And other potential bidders include Twinings owner Associated British Foods and Pepsi.
Advent previously worked with GIC on other deals, including an acquisition of Swedish biotech group Sobi.
Private equity firms have embarked on a massive spending wave this year, taking British companies across the board — and sparking fears for jobs.
Advent’s bid for Ultra has proved highly controversial due to the defense contractor’s prolific work for the Royal Navy.
Ultra Electronics provides sonar capabilities used to hunt submarines, while the control systems are used by Britain’s Trident nuclear missile submarines.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, intervened last month when he launched an investigation into its implications for national security.
Advent, which has been criticized for buying and then splitting British defense company Cobham, insists its acquisition poses no risks to the UK.