Aunt Bessie's is being sold to Birds Eye owner in £210m deal

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 4 Jun 2018

Hull-based frozen food producer Aunt Bessie’s is being bought by Birds Eye owner Nomad Foods in a deal worth more than £200m.

The sale of Aunt Bessie’s, currently owned by the William Jackson Food Group, is subject to necessary regulatory clearances.

Aunt Bessie’s is based in Freightliner Road in Hull and currently employs around 400 people.

Aunt Bessies employs around 400 people in Hull

Nicholas Oughtred, chairman of William Jackson Food Group, said: “As a responsible business owner we must do what we believe is right for every one of our businesses and this sale presents a great, long-term opportunity for Aunt Bessie’s.

“Aunt Bessie’s has come a long way with us. We’ve invested heavily in developing the business and the brand, and Nomad Foods is well placed to take the business even further.

“Nomad Foods is a well-known food group with a strong commitment to the frozen category, incredible experience, scale and investment capabilities and I’m sure Aunt Bessie’s will continue to thrive.”

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Aunt Bessie’s started making frozen Yorkshire puddings in 1974 as Tryton Foods.

The brand was created in 1995, and today 20 million Yorkshire puddings are made in Hull every week.

Nicholas Oughtred, chairman of William Jackson Food Group

Wayne Hudson, managing director at Birds Eye UK, said: “Aunt Bessie’s is a historic family brand built on strong values and quality product credentials.

“We have long admired what the team have achieved and are excited to welcome around 400 new colleagues and such a well-loved household name to our business.

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We are committed to the frozen food category and are incredibly excited about working with the Aunt Bessie’s team to grow the business in the future.”

Aunt Bessie’s colleagues were told of the sale earlier today.

The Jacksons bakery in Derringham Street

Stamford Partners acted as corporate financial advisor and Addleshaw Goddard acted as legal advisor to WJFG on the transaction.

The sale is valued at around £210m, it has been announced.

Mr Oughtred said he was “extremely proud” of the circa 400 staff at Aunt Bessie’s, who had “helped it become the much-loved household name that it is today.”

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He said: “My great great grandfather William Jackson started our business in Hull in 1851 with a grocery shop on Scale Lane.

“The business has changed a number of times over the past 167 years - many people will remember Grandways, our Jacksons stores and Crystal Motors from years gone by.

“We’re a sixth generation family business which operates across the UK but we remain firmly rooted in Hull; our head office is here, as is our bakery Jacksons.”

Jacksons currently also employs around 450 people at its bakery in Derringham Street, and has invested more than £50m into the site in the last seven years.

Work is almost completed on its new £40m bakery in Corby, which will support the work the company does in Hull.

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