UK – Sargents Bakeries, a private-label supplier of jam tarts, fruit pies, mince pies, celebration cakes, and sundaes, is set to close down after failing to turn around one year after it was acquired by peer Bright Blue Foods.

Prior to BBF’s acquisition of Sargents in September last year, BBF CEO Jonathan Lill said in a statement that the company was already struggling financially.

“Sargent’s was experiencing significant financial difficulties prior to us acquiring the business. Since the acquisition in 2021, there have been several external factors outside of our control which have further adversely affected the business,” Lill said.

“As a result, it is with regret that we have announced the proposed closure of Sargents Bakeries. We appreciate that this is a very difficult situation for everyone and we will provide as much support as possible to everyone affected.”

At the time of last year’s deal, Sargents was said to be a GBP24m (US$26.8m today) revenue company.

 Together, the two businesses would have a combined turnover of GBP200m, with more than 1,700 employees spread across a total of six manufacturing plants, including one in Poland owned by BBF, it was announced last September.

BBF, which supplies major retailers in the UK, has not disclosed the number of affected employees.

French toast maker Murry’s snaps up US peer Bake Crafters

We’re excited to have completed this transaction. Bake Crafters represents a highly strategic acquisition for Murry’s.

Kate Wallman, managing director of Encore Consumer Capital

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Meanwhile, Murry’s, a US manufacturer of French toast products based in Maryland, has acquired US peer Bake Crafters for an undisclosed sum.

Murry’s, owned by US private-equity firm Encore Consumer Capital, has an existing relationship with Tennessee’s Bake Crafters, which makes products including pizza, muffins, and apple fritter buns.

Murry’s chairman Ira Mendelson said: “Bake Crafters has been an important partner of Murry’s for over 15 years and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish working together.”

Kate Wallman, managing director of Encore Consumer Capital, added: “We’re excited to have completed this transaction. Bake Crafters represents a highly strategic acquisition for Murry’s.”

Encore Consumer Capital acquired Murry’s in 2019, partnering with then-owner Mendelson. Alongside the deal, it has also announced the hiring of Jeff Ahlers as CEO of Murry’s.

Wallman said: “We look forward to the next chapter of growth at Murry’s under Jeff’s leadership.”

Across the food and drinks sectors, Encore Consumer Capital’s investment portfolio includes gluten-free companies Ancient Harvest and Pamela’s, as well as organic-foods business Navitas Organics and drinks co-manufacturer Lion Beverage.

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