Apax Acquires Bazooka Candy Brands

Apax Acquires Bazooka Candy Brands

The Bazooka brand - originally known as Topps Chewing Gum - was developed after World War II and was launched in 1947

Bazooka produces, markets, and distributes a range of candy products including lollipops, gummies, chewy candy, gum, and chocolate.

SOURCE:Bazooka Candy Brands

Apax Partners has closed the acquisition of Bazooka Candy Brands from Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners.

New York City-headquartered Bazooka produces, markets, and distributes a range of candy products including lollipops, gummies, chewy candy, gum, and chocolate under the brands Ring Pop, Push Pop, Baby Bottle Pop, Juicy Drop, and Bazooka Bubble Gum.

Tornante and Madison Dearborn acquired Bazooka through its take private acquisition of trading card maker The Topps Company in 2007 for $385 million. In 2022, Topps sold its trading card division, which was launched in 1950, to Fanatics for $500 million and retained its candy division which was later renamed Bazooka Candy Brands.

Source: Bazooka Candy Brands

The Bazooka brand – originally known as Topps Chewing Gum – was developed after World War II and was launched in 1947. Beginning in 1953, Topps began including a small comic strip with its gum, featuring the character “Bazooka Joe.”

According to Bazooka, over the past several years the company’s US retail sales growth has significantly outpaced the overall confectionary category, and in the year-to-date period through August 2023, retail sales have grown approximately 29% year-over-year.

At closing of the acquisition, Tony Jacobs, Bazooka Candy Brands’ long-time president, has been promoted to chief executive officer.

“We’re incredibly excited to partner with Apax in this next stage of our growth journey,” said Mr. Jacobs. “Bazooka will continue to build on our history of successful brand-building and innovation to drive outsized growth in the U.S. and globally. We have an incredibly talented team, and I’m very proud of the leadership position we’ve been able to establish in the marketplace. Together with Apax, we look forward to continuing to deliver truly differentiated and exciting products that customers love.”

According to Apax, its strategy for Bazooka will be to support the company as it transitions to an independent business, grow the company’s distribution channels, develop new products, expand geographically, and acquire other brands in complementary product categories.

“It’s rare to have the opportunity to partner with a business that can boast the success and heritage that Bazooka has, and we are excited to work with the entire team on this next chapter for the business,” said Nick Hartman, a partner at Apax. “Bazooka fits squarely within our team’s focus on investments in well-positioned consumer packaged goods categories, and we see a compelling opportunity to leverage our sector knowledge to help the company achieve its next phase of growth.”

Apax invests in the technology, services, healthcare, and consumer sectors with offices in London, New York, Munich, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

Beverly Hills-headquartered Tornante Company was founded in 2005 by Michael Eisner, a former CEO of The Walt Disney Company. The firm invests in, acquires, and operates companies in the media and entertainment sectors.

“This transaction is the culmination of an extremely successful and gratifying tenure of ownership of Bazooka, which would not have been possible without the foresight and leadership of Tornante’s incredibly talented president, Andy Redman,” said Mr. Eisner. “Together with Madison Dearborn, an exceptional and constructive partner throughout, and our outstanding corporate management, including Mike Brandstaedter and Tony Jacobs, we have grown Bazooka into a group of the most iconic candy brands on the market. We look forward to celebrating the company’s continued success from the sideline.”

“It has been a privilege to partner with Michael Eisner and Tornante, and to work with Bazooka’s leadership for the duration of our investment partnership,” said Scott Pasquini, a managing director at Madison Dearborn. “Tony Jacobs and his leadership team are the best in the business, and we know they will continue to guide Bazooka to new heights.”

Madison Dearborn invests in privately held or publicly traded companies in the following sectors: basic industries; business and government software and services; financial services; health care; and telecom, media, and technology services. Madison Dearborn was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Chicago.

“I also want to thank our former owners, Tornante and Madison Dearborn, as well as CEO Michael Brandstaedter, for their support and commitment to our brands, which have enabled our strong performance and have positioned the business for our next chapter of success,” added Mr. Jacobs.

Macquarie Capital was the financial advisor to Apax, and Deutsche Bank was the financial advisor to Bazooka Candy Brands.

© 2023 Private Equity Professional | October 13, 2023

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