Huhtamäki, in Finland, is a global manufacturer of consumer and specialty packaging with operations in 34 countries. It focuses on flexible, paper and molded fiber packaging and specialty films.
In a statement, Highlander Partners said it had acquired the intellectual property, trademarks and associated licensing agreements and royalties for a portfolio of marquee chocolate and sugar confectionery brands that include Jolly Rancher, Payday, Whoppers, Heath, Milk Duds, Sixlets, Good & Plenty, Zero, Chuckles, and Good & Fruity from Huhtamäki Oyj.
“These acquired assets will be held in a newly-created entity that is fully-owned by Highlander Partners and its affiliates,” it said.
“Highlander has also made other investments in the confection industry through Bettera Brands, a holding company for Gimbal’s, a manufacturer of gourmet jelly beans and gummy vitamins, and Hillside Candy, a manufacturer of organic, sugar-free and medicated confections.”
The portfolio of 10 iconic brands acquired in the transaction will continue being licensed to The Hershey Company under the same terms and conditions.
“These confection products have a strong consumer following and are available at most US brick-and-mortar and online retailers,” the statement added.
Alex Guiva, partner, Highlander, added because it has its own proprietary capital, it can be flexible, creative and non-bureaucratic when structuring and executing acquisitions.
“These are exceptional brands that are well known to everyone since childhood,” said Guiva.
“We are proud and excited to be involved with these iconic brands and view them as a great investment that fits Highlander’s long-term investment strategy.”
Jeff Hull, president, Highlander, added, the company had made three investments in the confectionery space in the last two years, including Huhtamaki and had closed more than 20 transactions in the food and beverage categories in the last 10 years.
Huhtamaki was established in 1920 by Finnish entrepreneur Heikki Huhtamäki, and the candy business diversified into other food processing segments, pharmaceuticals manufacturing and distribution. It expanded in the 1970s as a conglomerate with nearly 20 business areas.
In the late 1980’s, confectionery, pharmaceuticals and packaging were identified as core businesses and a strategic decision was taken to concentrate on this area until the divestments of its pharmaceutical business (Leiras) and the confectionery business (Leaf) in 1996 to focus on packaging.