Highlander Partners, L.P., a leading middle-market private investment firm based in Dallas, Texas, have announced its acquisition of 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, a global food and beverage packaging company headquartered in Espoo, Finland.
These acquired assets will be held in a newly-created entity that is fully-owned by Highlander Partners and its affiliates. Highlander has also made other investments in the confection industry through Bettera Brands, a holding company for Gimbal’s, a leading manufacturer of gourmet jelly beans and gummy vitamins, and Hillside Candy, a leading manufacturer of organic, sugar-free and medicated confections.
The portfolio of ten iconic brands acquired in this transaction will continue being licensed to The Hershey Company under the same terms and conditions. The brands are the subject of hundreds of registered trademarks around the world and hold a leading market position in the U.S. and internationally. These confection products have a strong consumer following and are available at most U.S. brick-and-mortar and online retailers.
In connection with this transaction, Alex Guiva, Partner at Highlander, stated, “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. 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.”
Jeff L. Hull, President and Managing Partner of Highlander, added, “Highlander Partners made three investments in the confection space in the last two years, including this one. 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 the above-mentioned trademarks, we will continue the strategy of evaluating and acquiring valuable intellectual property, brands, trademarks and related royalty assets in food, beverage, and other industries.”