DALLAS — Private investment firm Highlander Partners, L.P. said it has acquired the intellectual property, trademarks and associated licensing agreements and royalties of a range of chocolate and sugar confectionery brands from Espoo, Finland-based Huhtamäki Oyj. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Brands acquired in the transaction include Jolly Rancher, Payday, Whoppers, Heath, Milk Duds, Sixlets, Good & Plenty, Zero, Chuckles and Good & Fruity.
Highlander said the acquired brands will be held in a newly-created entity that is fully-owned by Highlander and its affiliates, but the brands will continue to be licensed to The Hershey Co.
“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, 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.”
A year ago, Highlander formed Bettera Brands, L.L.C., a holding company headquartered in San Francisco. In connection with Bettera’s formation, Highlander acquired Gimbal Brothers, L.L.C. Founded in 1898, Gimbal’s is a manufacturer of gummy vitamins and gourmet jelly beans with distribution across North America. The company has fully integrated manufacturing capabilities, and its production facility is SQF Level 3, NSF/CFR111 certified for vitamins and dietary supplements.
In addition to the acquisition of Gimbal’s, Highlander folded its Hillside Candy company into the Bettera business. Hillside makes a variety of organic, sugar-free and traditional confection products under the GoOrganic, GoLightly, Hillside Sweets and Pick Your Color brands.
“Highlander Partners made three investments in the confection space in the last two years, including this one,” said Jeff L. 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 20 transactions in those industries in the last 10 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.”