Palladium Adds Morley Candy to Kar’s Nuts

Kar’s Nuts, a portfolio company of Palladium Equity Partners, has acquired Morley Candy Makers. Palladium and other Kar’s Nuts equity holders made follow-on investments to back this acquisition.

Morley Candy (Sanders) is a maker of premium confections, chocolates, baked goods, dessert toppings and ice cream sold under the Sanders Fine Chocolatiers brand. The company is based near Detroit in Clinton Township, MI (www.sanderscandy.com).

Sanders was acquired from CEO Brian Jefferson; his wife, Karen; and a group of other investors who acquired the company in December 2007 from Peninsula Capital Partners. “As we explored strategic opportunities for Sanders, it was critical to identify a partner who truly understood and valued our brand and our employees,” said Mr. Jefferson. “We are extremely excited about this merger as we feel confident that it will preserve cherished Sanders products, bring a new level of creativity to our offerings that is sure to delight customers, and continue to take care of our employees.”

Kar’s Nuts is a producer of branded trail mixes and nut snacks sold through a range of distribution channels including club, vending, grocery, alternative markets and convenience stores. Company-owned brand names include Kar’s and Second Nature. Kar’s Nuts was founded in 1933 and is headquartered near Detroit in Madison Heights, MI (www.karsnuts.com).

The acquisition of Sanders is the first add-on acquisition for Kar’s Nuts since being acquired by Palladium in March 2017. The combined operations will have total revenues of approximately $185 million. The merger will provide Sanders with expanded national distribution opportunities and offer Kar’s Nuts additional production and product innovation capabilities.

“Sanders is a successful company with a legacy of customer loyalty and quality products. As we consistently evaluate growth opportunities, this merger is ideal for Kar’s Nuts as we expand our reach in the snacking industry,” said Kar’s Nuts President Nick Nicolay.

Mr. Nicolay will serve as CEO of the combined company which will be headquartered in Madison Heights, MI. Mr. Jefferson will remain in place through the transition with plans to retire once the two companies are fully integrated.

Palladium invests from $50 million to $150 million of equity in companies that have $10 million to $75 million of EBITDA.  Sectors of interest include food and consumer, services, industrials, and healthcare. Palladium has a focus on companies that operate in the US Hispanic market.  Since its founding in 1997, Palladium has invested over $1.9 billion of capital in more than 31 platform investments and completed over 100 add-on acquisitions. The firm is based in New York (www.palladiumequity.com).

KPMG Corporate Finance was the financial advisor to Sanders.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | October 25, 2018

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