Crisp maker Tyrrells is set to attract the interest of global food companies after reportedly being put up for sale for about £100 million.
Langholm Capital, a private equity firm, has owned the Herefordshire-based business for the last five years after buying it from potato farmer William Chase in a £40m deal.
According to analysts, Tyrrells is likely to draw interest from American food giant Kellogg’s, the Japanese snacks firm Calbee, and Tangerine, the Blackpool-based confectionery company that owns Butterkist popcorn.
Other potential bidders could include Germany’s Intersnack, which bought KP Snacks last year.
Under Langholm – which is backed by the household goods firm Unilever and also owns Dorset Cereals – Tyrrells has enjoyed success in expanding its operations to new overseas markets, including the United States and Canada.
Chase turned to making crisps in 2002 when his margins as a potato farmer were wiped out by the supermarkets. The crisps gain their flavour through the use of special potato varieties such as Lady Rosetta.
He claimed a victory over Tesco in 2006 when he found the group was stocking Tyrrells Potato Chips at reduced prices, forcing the chain to take the crisps off its shelves and pledge to boost links with local suppliers.