Highlander Buys Big Candy Portfolio

Highlander Buys Big Candy Portfolio

Highlander Partners has acquired the intellectual property, trademarks and associated licensing agreements and royalties for a portfolio of ten candy brands from Huhtamäki Oyj, a Finland-based food and beverage packaging company.

The ten acquired brands include Jolly Rancher, Payday, Whoppers, Heath, Milk Duds, Sixlets, Good & Plenty, Zero, Chuckles, and Good & Fruity. All of these brands have strong consumer followings and are available at most US brick-and-mortar and online retailers and hold leading market positions in the US and internationally. Highlander will continue to license the ten brands to The Hershey Company under the same terms and conditions as existing licensing agreements.

This is not the first foray into the candy space for Highlander. In April 2017 the firm formed Bettera Brands, a San Francisco-based platform holding company to acquire and grow companies operating in the confections and snack industry. Simultaneous with the formation of Bettera, the platform acquired Gimbal Brothers, a manufacturer of both branded and private label gummy vitamins and gourmet jelly beans (www.gimbalscandy.com) (www.gimbalsgummyvitamins.com). Secondly, Highlander then contributed its existing portfolio company, New Jersey-based Hillside Candy (acquired in November 2016), to Bettera. Hillside manufactures and markets organic, sugar-free and traditional confection products under the GoOrganic, GoLightly, Pick Your Color and Hillside Candy brands (www.hillsidecandy.com).

The acquisition of the ten candy brands from Huhtamäki Oyj was made by Highlander through Iconic IP Interests, LLC, a new holding company which is completely separate from Bettera Brands.

“Highlander Partners made three investments in the confection space in the last two years, including this one,” said Jeff Hull, President and Managing Partner of Highlander. “We remain fully committed to this category and we also have a strong focus on investing in the food and beverage categories, both consumer products and ingredients, having closed more than twenty transactions in those industries in the last ten years.  In addition, with the acquisition of these trademarks from Huhtamäki Oyj, we will continue the strategy of evaluating and acquiring valuable intellectual property, brands, trademarks and related royalty assets in food, beverage, and other industries.”

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

“Because Highlander has its own proprietary capital, we can be flexible, creative and non-bureaucratic when structuring and executing acquisitions, as demonstrated by this transaction,” said Alex Guiva, a Partner at Highlander. “These are exceptional brands that are well known to everyone since childhood. Everyone has a favorite! Many generations grew up loving their taste and will continue to enjoy them. We are proud and excited to be involved with these iconic brands and view them as a great investment that uniquely fits Highlander’s long-term investment strategy.”

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | April 30, 2018

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