Burton's Biscuits, maker of Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels, is to be sold to the American venture capitalist Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst for £130m after more than half acentury as part of Associated British Foods, the Independent reported today. The debt-free deal will lead to the creation of Britain's second-largest player in the biscuit market through the merger of Burton's with Horizon Biscuits, which the US firm acquired last year as part of its purchase of the Hillsdown group. Associated British Foods, which also owns Twinings, Allinson and British Sugar, bought Burton's in 1949 but has decided to divest itself of businesses that lack the scale needed for expansion. Earlier this year it sold its Allied ice-cream business, and plans to expand its Primark chain and US food ingredients arms, the paper continued. Burton's, which has factories in northern England, Wales and Scotland, and employs 2,500 staff, had sales last year of £171.1m.