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Hancock Brothers Sweet On £50m Sale

(c) Sky News 2012

The two sons of a husband-and-wife team who founded a sweet shop in Leicestershire in the 1960s have landed a £50m windfall by selling the business.

Andrew and Adrian Hancock will announce on Thursday the sale of the company they inherited from their parents to its chief executive and H2 Equity Partners, a Dutch investment firm.

The brothers, who ran the business after it was transformed into one of the UK's largest independent confectionery wholesalers, will both become multimillionaires after the sale completes.

Hancocks Group Holdings was founded by Liz and Ray Hancock in 1962 in a single retail outlet in Shepshed, near Loughborough. During the ensuing half-century, it has opened nearly 20 depots around the country, generating turnover of more than £100m.

The deal catapults the brothers into the league of wealthy Britons. Mark Watson, chief executive of Hancocks, will continue in the role following the management buyout.

People familiar with the transaction said Mr Watson and H2 would focus on expanding Hancocks' depot network, developing the company's branded and own-label ranges and growing its online activities.

The Hancocks were advised by Cavendish Corporate Finance, a firm which advises companies on sale processes. Investec (EUREX: INVF.EX - news) , the banking group, is providing financing for the deal.

Nobody involved would comment on the value of the takeover but insiders said it was in the region of £50m.