HANOVER, PA. — Snack maker Utz Quality Foods, LLC has entered into a definitive agreement with Collier Creek Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company, to form Utz Brands, Inc., a leading pure-play snack food platform. After nearly a century as a family-owned, privately-held company, the transaction will introduce Utz as a publicly listed company, with an expected initial enterprise value of approximately $1.56 billion, or 11.6x its estimated 2021 pro forma adjusted EBITDA of $134 million. It is expected Utz Brands will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “UTZ.”
Founded in 1921, Utz produces a full line of products, including potato chips, pretzels, cheese snacks, corn chips, tortillas, veggie stix/straws, popcorn, onion rings, pork skins and more. Its brands include Utz, Golden Flake, Zapp’s, “Dirty” Potato Chips, Good Health, Snikiddy, Boulder Canyon, TGI Fridays Snacks and Bachman.
Over the past year Utz has broadened its portfolio through the acquisitions of Kitchen Cooked Inc., a Farmington, Ill.-based manufacturer and distributor of snack foods, and Conagra Brands, Inc.’s direct-store delivery snacks business, which includes the Tim’s Cascade Snacks, Hawaiian Snacks, Erin’s, El Restaurante, Snyder’s of Berlin, Pop-N-Thin and Husman’s brands. The company operates 14 manufacturing facilities nationwide.
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of Collier Creek and the board of managers of Utz and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions including approval of Collier Creek shareholders. Upon closing of the transaction, Collier Creek will become a Delaware corporation, and its name will be changed to Utz Brands, Inc.
Dylan Lissette, chief executive officer of Utz since 2013, will continue to lead the business with the existing management team, and the company will remain headquartered in Hanover.
“As we approach our 100-year anniversary, we are excited to take this important step forward to position Utz for its next century of growth,” Mr. Lissette said. “This transaction enables Utz to continue its long-term growth plans and provides greater access to capital to fund organic and inorganic growth. We remain deeply committed to Utz’s continued success.”
Utz plans to use proceeds from the transaction to repay existing borrowings. The founding family and owners of the company will retain more than 90% of its existing equity stake, representing more than 50% ownership in Utz Brands upon completion of the transaction.
Collier Creek founders include Chinh E. Chu and Jason K. Giordano, senior managing directors of private investment firm CC Capital, and Roger K. Deromedi, former CEO of Kraft Foods in the early 2000s and more recently chairman of Pinnacle Foods.
“Utz Brands is a phenomenal business combination that meets all of the criteria we established when we launched Collier Creek,” Mr. Deromedi said. “It’s a leading platform in the attractive and growing salty snack category, with significant competitive advantages and multiple opportunities to accelerate growth and drive value creation. We are confident that by supporting Dylan and the talented management team with our proven operating playbook, Utz can become the fastest-growing pure-play branded snack platform of scale in the US. We look forward to working with the Utz team in the years ahead.”