Quorn Ownership Switches to Philippines in $833 Million Sale

  • Monde Nissin beats off rival interest for meat-subtitute maker
  • Deal represents further step in snack maker's expansion

Britain’s Quorn Foods is being acquired by Monde Nissin Corp. of the Philippines in a deal that values the 30-year-old meat-substitute maker at 550 million pounds ($833 million).

Monde Nissin beat off interest from a range of private-equity and corporate bidders to secure an asset that has market leading positions in 15 countries, according to a statement from law firm Allen & Overy, which advised sellers Exponent Private Equity and Intermediate Capital Group.

For Monde Nissin, the deal represents a further step in the snack maker’s expansion plans and illustrates an increasing appetite in emerging markets for brands from developed countries. Bright Food Group Co., the Chinese company that acquired Weetabix cereals, just completed the purchase of a Spanish food distributor. Monde Nissin acquired Australian brands including Nudie juices and Black Swan chilled dips earlier this year.

The closely held company has been linked with an initial public offering, with Philippine Star newspaper reporting this month that an IPO may take place as soon as the second quarter of next year.

Meat texture

Quorn, which makes products with the appearance and texture of meat, has had a number of corporate and private-equity owners since being established in 1985 as a joint venture between Rank Hovis McDougall Plc and Imperial Chemical Industries Plc. The brand, whose main ingredient is mycoprotein, most recently changed hands in 2011 when it was sold to Exponent by Premier Foods Plc.

“Quorn represents an important new leg in our offering,” Monde Nissin Chief Executive Officer Henry Soesanto said in a statement on Exponent’s website. “We are excited by the growth potential of the global meat alternatives market, which complements our strategy perfectly.”

Quorn CEO Kevin Brennan said the purchase is “a great step forwards” toward fulfilling his ambition of creating a $1 billion business. Quorn’s 2014 sales were 150.3 million pounds.

Citigroup Inc. and Courtyard Hill Capital Pte Ltd. advised Monde Nissin on the deal. Houlihan Lokey, Perella Weinberg Partners and Spayne Lindsay acted for Exponent and Intermediate Capital.