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China's Bright Food to sell Weetabix to Post Holdings for $1.76 billion

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Weetabix launched its high-protein version in a bid to expand sales

U.S. consumer group Post Holdings today struck a deal to buy British cereal company Weetabix Ltd from China's Bright Food Group Co Ltd and Baring Private Equity Asia for £1.4 billion ($1.76 billion) in cash in order to expand its worldwide business.

Weetabix is 60% owned by Chinese company Bright Food, with the rest owned by Baring Private Equity Asia.

St. Louis-based Post Holdings Inc. said Tuesday that the deal will allow it to expand its US brands overseas and grow Weetabix in North America.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third calendar quarter, subject to the satisfaction of limited closing conditions. It had been family-owned until its takeover by Texan private equity firm, Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst in 2004 for £642 million.

The purchase will put place the British breakfast favorite back into the hands of a cereal company.

British cereal maker Weetabix is to be sold to a USA company, it has been confirmed.

Locally-based Post Holdings, best known for its cereal brands, is acquiring a British breakfast favorite.

Overseas acquisitions remain an important part of Bright Food's plan to become an "internationally influential, multinational company", the spokesman added.

Vitale said the multiple was higher than its past deals, but said it was justified by Weetabix's strong market share, future expansion opportunities, Post's ability to fund it in cash and the favorable tax environment in Britain. Going forward Bright will stick to our overseas push.

Post Holdings has paid £1.4bn to buy the controlling stake of the cereal company, which was one of a series of United Kingdom firms taken over by Chinese investors in 2012. It posted net sales of $1.25 billion and a net loss of $4 million.

The deal could be announced before the start of NY trading today, the reports said. (KHC.O), while Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc is considering a sale of its French's Foods unit after agreeing to buy infant-formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition Co.

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