Highlander Has a Sweet Tooth

Highlander Partners has acquired Queen City Candy, a manufacturer of confectionery products including gummies, jellies, and fruit snacks.

Queen City Candy (QCC) produces both pectin and gelatin-based products and is SQF Level II certified. The company was founded in 1983 by Vince Klee and has a production facility near Cincinnati in Greendale, IN (www.queencitycandy.com).

The buy of QCC is a continuation of Highlander’s interest in the confection industry.  In April 2018, the firm acquired the intellectual property, trademarks and associated licensing agreements and royalties for a portfolio of ten candy brands from Finland-based Huhtamäki Oyj. The ten acquired brands include Jolly Rancher, Payday, Whoppers, Heath, Milk Duds, Sixlets, Good & Plenty, Zero, Chuckles, and Good & Fruity. Additionally, in the past two years, Highlander acquired Gimbal’s, a manufacturer of gourmet jelly beans and gummy vitamins, and Hillside Candy, a manufacturer of organic, sugar-free and nutraceutical confections. Both Gimbal’s and Hillside Candy operate under Bettera Brands, a holding company formed by Highlander in April 2017.

“We are excited about our acquisition of QCC and believe the opportunity in the gummy confection and vitamin space will continue to grow at a significant rate,” said Jeff Hull, President and Managing Partner of Highlander. “QCC offers outstanding manufacturing capabilities, with its cutting-edge manufacturing equipment and unique production capabilities. We believe that with Highlander’s resources and in collaboration with  Brands, QCC will be able to expand its product offerings and enter new markets, further accelerating the company’s growth.”

Highlander Partners makes investments in middle market businesses in targeted industries in which the principals of the firm have significant operating and investing experience. Sectors of interest include manufacturing, consumer products, industrial goods, automotive accessories, packaging, food and beverage, and specialty chemicals.

“We have been very active; this is Highlander’s fourth investment in the confection space in the last two years and this is our third food deal this year,” said Alex Guiva, a Partner at Highlander. “Having closed more than twenty transactions in the food space, we remain fully committed to the food and beverage categories, both finished consumer products and ingredients, and we continue seeking high-quality food businesses that have a strong market position, differentiated offerings and compelling growth opportunities.”

Highlander Partners has over $2 billion in assets under management and is based in Dallas (www.highlander-partners.com).

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | July 9, 2018

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