Private equity fund Brynwood Partners VI LP has acquired St. Paul, Minn.-based Pearson Candy Co. Terms of the deal were not released. Brynwood is a private equity fund that makes control investments in lower middle market companies. Pearson Candy was formed more than 100 years ago, and makes a wide range of candies, including “Pearson’s Mint Patties” and “Pearson’s Nut Goodies.”
Brynwood Partners VI L.P. announced today that it acquired St. Paul, Minnesota-based Pearson Candy Company. Terms and conditions of the transaction, which closed today, were not disclosed.
Pearson, previously owned by Larry Hassler and founded over 100 years ago, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of widely recognized confectionery brands including Pearson’s(R) Salted Nut Roll, Pearson’s(R) Mint Patties, Pearson’s(R) Nut Goodies and Pearson’s(R) Bun. As part of this transaction, Brynwood VI announced the appointment of Michael Keller as President and CEO of the company. Keller will assume the responsibilities of Hassler, who will remain with the company in a consulting capacity during a transition period. Prior to joining Pearson, Keller served as the Chief Marketing Officer of International Dairy Queen.
“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of the Pearson Candy Company and we are excited to attract an executive of Michael Keller’s caliber to this opportunity,” said Henk Hartong III, Chairman, Pearson Candy Company and Senior Managing Partner, Brynwood VI. “Pearson is an iconic confectionery business and is a terrific addition to Brynwood VI’s portfolio. We expect Pearson to become a great platform for additional acquisitions in the candy sector. We are grateful to have had the chance to work with Larry Hassler and look forward to continuing to grow the great company that he has built.”
“Having owned and operated Pearson since 1985, I am confident that I am leaving the company in good hands with Brynwood VI,” said Larry Hassler. “Given Brynwood Partners’ experience in the food space, I am confident that Brynwood VI will have great success in enhancing the value of the organization.” Minneapolis-based investment banking firm Prestwick Partners represented Hassler on the sale of the company.
Brynwood Partners has a strong track record in the food space. Brynwood Partners V L.P. holds an investment in DeMet’s Candy Company, a leading U.S.-based chocolate confectionery company manufacturing the Turtles(R) , Flipz(R) and Treasures(R) brands. Most recently, DeMet’s acquired the TrueNorth(R) nut-cluster snack brand from PepsiCo Inc. In addition, Brynwood VI owns the Balance Bar Company which was acquired from Kraft Foods, Inc. Brynwood V recently divested its investment in Richelieu Foods, Inc., a leading U.S.-based manufacturer of private label frozen pizza and salad dressings which grew sales from approximately $100 million to over $250 million under Brynwood V’s ownership.
About Brynwood Partners:
Founded in 1984, Brynwood Partners is an operationally-focused private equity fund that makes control investments in lower middle market companies. Brynwood Partners targets companies operating in the following sectors: (a) consumer products, (b) light manufacturing with low capital intensity, (c) service businesses and (d) specialty retailing.
Brynwood Partners is currently managing over $500 million of private equity capital for its limited partners who include U.S. and international pension funds, fund-of-funds, endowments, high net worth family investment offices and financial institutions.