Shanghai-based Bright Food Group is reportedly looking at buying Britain’s United Biscuits from private equity firms Blackstone and PAI Partners.
Reuters quoted a source as saying the Chinese have hired Rothschild to advise them.
Over the weekend there was a report that Bright Food has pre-empted a planned auction and is in secret talks to buy United Biscuits for up to three billion euros.
Such a deal would be the largest ever international purchase by a Chinese company in the food and beverage sector.
In August Reuters reported US food group Campbell Soup was considering a bid.
United Biscuits has some of the world’s best known sweet and savoury snacks, with products ranging from biscuits and crackers to cakes.
The company, which has been in business for over 100 years, has a number of well-known brands including Jacob’s, Carr’s, McCoy’s, Hula Hoops and McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes.
United Biscuits holds the leading or number two positions in its core markets of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Ireland, according to the company web site.
It has been rapidly growing into North America and in the Middle East, Africa, and Australia.