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American snack firm acquires fine English crisp maker Tyrrells for £300m

3 min read

08 August 2016

Former deputy editor

It’s all change for Tyrrells, the maker of “fine English crisps”, as the Herefordshire business has been part of a transatlantic deal to get acquired by Texas-based Amplify Snack Brands for £300m.

Amplify’s takeover comes following Investcorp’s £100m buyout of Tyrrells in 2013. Since that time, the British brand’s value has tripled and sales have more than doubled, resulting in employee numbers to rise 70 per cent globally and 30 per cent in its native UK.

While Tyrrells is primarily known for its crisps, it has also branched out into other snacks during its 14 years of operation, including sweet potato crisps, popcorn, tortilla chips, peanuts and rice crackers.

Australia and Germany were key markets for Tyrrells, which scaled in the countries through local buyouts, while also introducing healthy options of the “better-for-you” variety to offer organic and gluten-free products. Some 40 per cent of revenue now comes from international markets, up from 20 per cent in 2013.

David Milner, Tyrells CEO, will become president of international at Amplify once the deal is complete and described the deal as “terrific”.

“This is a terrific deal for Tyrrells and the team who have delivered a stellar performance over the last few years,” he said. “As a small, UK farm-based business it is a tremendous achievement to be now part of a US publicly-traded company with the international reach to make Tyrrells a global brand.”

Seemingly that global growth and healthy focus has caught the attention of Amplify, which brings Tyrrells into the fold where it will join popcorn brand SkinnyPop and tortilla chip brand Paqui.

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The Texan firm’s focus is on offering snacks in the better-for-you segment, which is quickly growing in the US. SkinnyPop rose by 35.3 per cent to $203m, making it one of the fastest popcorn brands in the country, while Tyrrells’ own Poshcorn is one of the largest in the UK.

Tyrrells is set to benefit hugely in the US, as it will be able to leverage Amplify’s knowledge of the local marketplace – the largest in the world for snacks.

Tom Ennis, Amplify’s president and CEO, added: “The product characteristics and flavour profiles of Tyrrells on-trend premium brands align with Amplify’s Better-For-You snacking strategy. Our two brands are examples of strong entrepreneurial spirit with successful track records in transforming categories and creating growth brands.

“Together we plan to capitalise on each company’s market leadership and sales force capabilities to drive higher revenue growth than either company could independently accomplish.”

Leon, another food business with its mind on the health of customers, has secured a £19m loan with which it will open 50 new natural fast food restaurants within four years.