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FB Roundup: Ferrero, Weatherbys, and David Harding

Ferrero bids for Kellogg’s Keebler cookie business, Weatherbys gears up Scottish expansion with new hires, and hedge fund founder David Harding gifts $130 million to Cambridge University

Ferrero bids for Kellogg’s cookie and fruit snack businesses

Family owned confectionary giant Ferrero has placed a first-round bid alongside competitors Hostess Brands and B&G Foods to buy Kellogg’s cookie and fruit snack businesses.

The deal—which includes Keebler, Famous Amos, Murray and Mother’s cookies and Stretch Island fruit snacks—could be valued at more than $1.5 billion, said CNBC citing sources familiar with the situation.

A Kellogg’s spokesperson confirmed “a formal process is underway [for] the potential divestiture of our cookies, fruit snacks, ice-cream cones and pie shells businesses,” but “declined to comment on speculation”.

Kellogg's announced it was exploring the sale of its cookie and fruit snacks businesses last year.

At the time, Steven Cahillane, chairman and chief executive of Kellogg's, said the company was making a strategic choice and the brands up for sale had difficulty competing for resources and investments within their portfolio.

Third generation family business Ferrero Group, founded in 1946 by Pietro Ferrero, has been aggressively using acquisitions to grow its global footprint over the past two years.

In 2017, it paid around $1 billion to buy Ferrera Can Company, the US owner of Red Hots and Now and Later sweets, to give itself a platform to grow in the US. Last year it bought Nestlé’s NESN-CH candy business for $2.8 billion, adding brands BabyRuth, Nerds and Butterfinger to its portfolio.

Last November, Ferrero was also identified as a potential buyer of Campbell Soup’s Australia-based Arnott’s cookie business, along with Mondelez and Kraft Heinz. The Kellogg competitor announced plans to divest its Campbell International business last year.

The company’s chief executive Giovanni Ferrero (pictured) is the son of Michele Ferrero, who turned the family’s confections business into a global giant. It posted annual revenue of $12.6 billion in 2017.

Weatherbys gears up Scottish expansion with new hires

Weatherbys Private Bank, run by seventh generation members of the Weatherby family, has expanded its team in Scotland as it gears up for its next stage of growth.

Lizzie Kerr, joins as senior private banker from Svenska Handelsbanken where she led the private banking offering. Andrew Millar, joins as private banking executive with over 12 years’ experience from the Bank of Scotland, while Camilla Harden comes in as marketing manager from the Royal Household.

The appointments come as the bank moves into a new office in Edinburgh, which is double the size of the current site.

“Since opening our Scottish office in 2015, business numbers have doubled across all metrics namely deposits, lending, investments and client numbers,” said Duncan Gorlay, head of Weatherbys Private Bank in Scotland.

“Across the wider group, lending has grown by 160% in the last five years and at 21% per annum since 2010. Our growth clearly demonstrates the fact that there are many successful people who value the service we offer.”

Weatherbys has been actively developing its banking business, hiring senior banker Aidan Faik from rival family bank C Hoare and Co last year to “help run and grow the overall private banking offering”, and Lisa Wright to spearhead all aspects of recruitment.

Weatherbys is a privately owned English company founded by James Weatherby in 1770, after he was appointed to serve the Jockey Club as its secretary. The company still acts as the central administrator and bank for the British Horse Racing Authority.

Weatherbys Bank was established in 1994 after the family secured its first banking licence from the Bank of England, firstly servicing those engaged in horse racing and then expanding to a wider client base.

It is run by seventh generation family members Roger Weatherby (pictured), as chief executive, and Johnny Weatherby, who sits on the board as a non-executive director. Weatherbys Bank posted assets of $983 million and pre-tax profits of $7.4 million at the end of December 2017, according to Companies House filings.

Hedge fund founder David Harding gifts $130 million to Cambridge University

David Harding, the billionaire founder of hedge fund firm Winton Group, has donated $130 million to the University of Cambridge—the biggest single gift made to a UK university by a British philanthropist.

Harding (pictured), a theoretical physics graduate from Cambridge, said $102 million of the money will be used to provide full scholarships for about 100 PhD students, with a further $26 million to support undergraduates. The final $2 million has been set aside to help find innovative approaches for attracting undergraduate students from underrepresented groups at the university.

“[My wife] Claudia and I are very happy to make this gift to Cambridge to help attract future generations of the world’s outstanding students to research and study there,” Harding said.

The fund to aid postgraduate students, the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme, will begin this year.

This donation is not Harding’s first gift to Cambridge University. In 2011 the Winton Charitable Foundation pledged $26 million to establish a research programme applying physics to meet the growing demands on the earth’s natural resources.

In 2016, they established the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, within the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics.

Harding (57) studied at St Catharine’s College in Cambridge, graduating with a first-class degree in 1982. He then worked in the City of London as a stockbroker before founding global investment management and data science company Winton Group in 1997 with less than $2 million.

The company, now named Winton Global Investment Management, invests more than $30 billion using computer technology to apply mathematical and statistical methods to the field of investing. Harding remains as its chief executive.

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