Taking care of business
United Biscuits (UB), the UK biscuit manufacturer, could face a break-up as its private equity owners plan to sell the business, reports the Sunday Times. Blackstone and PAI Partners plan to begin negotiations about selling UB at the end of 2011 and could separate McVities biscuit division from the KP crisps units to facilitate a disposal, the paper said. The equity firms planned to raise $3.25 billion from a sale of UB. However, the interest from potential bidders including Bright Foods, Kelloggs, Kraft and Campbell Soup failed could not materialize into a deal, Reuters reported ... Brynwood Partners VI L.P., Greenwich, Conn., acquired Pearson Candy Co., a St. Paul, Minn.-based maker of Pearson's Salted Nut Roll, Pearson's Mint Patties, Pearson's Nut Goodies and Pearson's Bun brands from Larry Hassler, who will stay on as consultant during the transition. Michael Keller, former CMO at International Dairy Queen was appointed president and CEO. Brynwood Partners also has an investment in DeMet's Candy Co. and owns Balance Bar Co., recently acquired from Kraft Foods Inc. ... MegaMex Foods, a joint venture between Hormel Foods Corp. and Mexico-based Herdez Del Fuerte, agreed to acquire Fresherized Foods, which produces Wholly Guacamole, Wholly Salsa and Wholly Queso products. Its annual sales are expected to be about $140 million this year ... Gruma Corp., Shawnee Mission, Kan., a subsidiary of Monterrey, Mexico-based Gruma S.A.B. de C.V., purchased the tortilla production assets of Casa de Oro Foods L.L.C. from Plaza Belmont Fund II L.L.C. for $20 million. The acquisition, which includes Casa's inventories, brand and customer list, is expected to expand Gruma's tortilla presence in the U.S. ...Frutarom Industries acquired Aromco Ltd. for $25 million in cash. This is Frutarom's fourth acquisition of a flavor company this year ... Nestle plans to expand manufacturing plant in Cleveland and a develop research facility in Solon, Ohio, reports Cleveland.com. In Solon, Nestle's new R&D operation, estimated to cost $50,000-$60,000, is for its frozen-foods business unit ... Mars Chocolate North America broke ground for a new state-of-the art manufacturing facility at the Kanza Fire Commerce Park in Topeka, Kan. Mars expects to invest more than $250 million and create approximately 200 full time jobs.