McVitie's Owner Hires Oppenheimer on Jacob's Cracker Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Yildiz Holding AS, a debt laden Turkish food conglomerate, plans to sell its Jacob’s cracker unit and production facilities in the U.K. this year, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The owner of McVitie’s digestives and Godiva chocolates may offload the entire business or a stake to an investor, the people said, asking not to be named because the talks are confidential. The company is working with Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. on the sale, the people said.

Yildiz Holding, the world’s third-largest biscuit maker, is selling assets under the terms of a $6.5 billion loan restructuring agreed upon with banks last year. The company plans to divest holdings “outside our global focus of businesses,” Nurtac Ziyal Afridi, Yildiz Holding’s chief global strategy and M&A officer, said in an interview this month.

The company last week agreed to sell Asia-Pacific retail and distribution licenses for its Godiva chocolate brand to North Asian private equity firm MBK Partners Ltd. Its private equity unit this month signed an exclusivity accord with Austria’s RHI Holdings NV for its mining and brick business.

Yildiz Holding acquired United Biscuits Holdings Plc in 2014 for $3.1 billion, in what was the biggest overseas acquisition by a Turkish firm. It also bought several of its brands, including Jacob’s and McVitie’s and seven production plants in the country. Jacob’s produces several types of crackers and biscuits in the U.K. and Ireland, according to its website.

Yildiz Holding and Oppenheimer declined to comment.

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