Kellogg, the US foodmaker, and Germany’s Intersnack are expected to be among the bidders for the salty snacks division of United Biscuits, whose brands include Hula Hoops and KP nuts.
The private equity funds that own United Biscuits, Blackstone and PAI, are expected to start the formal process of selling the unit – estimated to be worth £500m – in September.
People familiar with the plans said potential bidders have already started considering whether to participate.
The sale, which will be run by Credit Suisse, is expected to draw interest from a diverse group of private equity funds but also strategic bidders including Kellogg and Intersnack, the people said.
The auction process is expected to span two rounds of bidding, although one person close to the situation said no talks had been held with potential bidders on the sale yet.
Both Intersnack and Kellogg – best known for its range of breakfast cereals – declined to comment.