Some of the UK’s best-selling confectionery brands, including Barratt, Dip Dab and Sherbet Fountain, are being put up for sale as Britons’ continuing appetite for ‘retro’ sweet products clashes with healthier eating trends.
Sky News understands that the brands’ parent company, Tangerine Confectionery, will be auctioned later this year by its owner, the private equity behemoth Blackstone.
Tangerine is expected to trade for more than £100m and potentially up to £120m, according to City sources.
Houlihan Lokey, the investment bank, has been hired by Blackstone to handle the sale.
The other brands in Tangerine’s portfolio include Black Jack, Flumes, Fruit Salad, Wham and York Fruits.
Blackstone, which typically acquires businesses many times the size of Blackpool-based Tangerine, took control of the company in 2011.
At the time, it also owned the Butterkist popcorn brand, but this was sold last year to the German parent company of KP Snacks.
Tangerine has had fluctuating fortunes under Blackstone’s ownership, with resurgent demand for ‘retro’ brands offset by broader market trends, which have seen many consumers switching to sugar-free snacking options.
Accounts filed at Companies House show that sales declined from £151.9m in 2015 to £139.3m the following year.
Tangerine attributed the slump to the weaker performance of its own-label business for retailers and “uncertainties caused by the debate on sugar [which] led to the reduced promotion of sweets in the trade”.
Blackstone declined to comment.