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Turkey’s Yildiz Holding buys United Biscuits towards becoming a global brand-Reuters

(Reuters) – Turkey’s largest food group Yildiz Holding said on Monday it had acquired UK-based cookies and snacks maker United Biscuits, in a move it said made it the world’s third-biggest biscuit maker and would help it expand into new markets.

It is the third and largest acquisition by the Turkish group in recent years as it strives to become a global name.

United Biscuits’ private equity owners Blackstone Group and PAI Partners confirmed they had agreed the sale of the Jaffa Cakes maker and said the deal was expected to close shortly.

Yildiz bought premium chocolate maker Godiva for $850 million in 2007 and DeMet’s Candy Company, the U.S. maker of Flipz chocolate pretzels and Turtles covered nut clusters, for $221 million last year.

“In the past six years, adding premium chocolate maker Godiva and established U.S. candy maker DeMet’s to its portfolio, Yildiz Holding took its largest step towards globalisation with acquiring United Biscuits,” it said in a statement.

Yildiz, a food and beverages maker which owns Ulker Biskuvi , said it had beaten breakfast cereal maker Kellogg Co and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which bought Burton’s Biscuit last year, in the United deal.

It gave no financial details.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier on Monday that United Biscuits’ private equity owners were close to sealing a deal with Yildiz for about over 2 billion pounds ($3 billion), including debt.

Yildiz had said in September that it was interested in investing in the company.