From collecting eggs in Herts to buying Britain’s biggest premium dessert brand

Lucy Neave

Exponent has appetite for £150m purchase of dessert-maker Gu.

The private equity firm is in exclusive talks to buy Britain’s biggest premium dessert brand.

A former owner of the meat-free food brand Quorn is switching its appetite to desserts with a £150m bid for Gu Puds, one of the UK’s most popular pudding brands.

Exponent Private Equity has entered exclusive talks to buy Gu from Noble Foods, the egg producer.

A deal with Exponent is not certain, and insiders said a number of other trade and financial bidders remained interested in buying the brand.

Gu, which was founded by James Averdieck in 2003, has benefited from a surge in sales over the last year as homebound consumers comfort-ate their way through UK-wide lockdowns.

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Noble last explored a sale of Gu just over two years ago, when Nestle was among the prospective suitors.

Noble marked the centenary of its creation last year, having been founded in 1920 when William Dean began collecting eggs from smallholders in Hertfordshire.

The Swiss-based consumer goods giant also examined a bid for Gu in 2009, with rival Mars also expressing an interest.

Noble prevailed in that auction, however, and has owned the business for the last decade.

Gu is Britain’s biggest premium dessert-maker, with a 20% market share in the UK, while it also has a strong presence in markets such as France and Germany.

Spayne Lindsay, the corporate finance firm, is handling the Gu sale.

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