Tyrells still has crunch with £100m sale

The crisp brand which was sold for £30m in 2008 has been sold again - to an investor in Dubai.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 02 Aug 2013
When Herefordshire potato farmer William Chase sold posh crisps brand Tyrells for £30m in 2008, it raised a few eyebrows – but it turns out that was small potatoes. But now the brand has made another packet: it’s just been sold again by its new owner, Langholm Capital, to Dubai investor Investcorp for £100m.

It’s a strange fit for Investcorp: the company’s most notable acquisition last month was a 38% stake in a Saudi oil and gas services company – and it has three similar deals under way. But the company said Tyrells ‘is unique and the business has an excellent position in the UK and a rapidly growing international footprint’.

It’s not clear whether Chase, who has since turned his sights to vodka (see our interview with him here), stands to collect anything extra from the deal.

The sale of Tyrells is a cautionary tale for entrepreneurs looking to sell their businesses: having originally snubbed approaches from Tesco, Chase sold to Langholm instead.

But shortly after the deal was signed, the investor took the decision to take the crisps off the shelves of the small, independent retailers with whom Chase had built up relationships – and sell them at Tesco instead. Eventually, Langholm even decided to stop using Chase as its potato supplier.

For Chase, it was a happy(ish) ending: left with lots of potatoes rotting in the fields, he spent £3m building a vodka distillery and now ships 5,000 bottles of £38 vodka a week. Cheers to that.

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