Catterton Partners To Sell Farley’s & Sathers Candy

PHILADELPHIA/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co Inc, the maker of Brach’s, Jujyfruits, and Now and Later candies, has hired investment bankers to help it find a buyer, sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

Farley’s & Sathers has hired Goldman Sachs to help it explore strategic options, sources said.

The Minnesota company is owned by Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity firm Catterton Partners, which bought it in 2002.

Farley’s & Sathers has made several acquisitions to build its business since its inception in 2002. Its most recent acquisition was Brach’s Confections in 2007.

Farley’s & Sathers legacy goes back much further. The Farley namesake began in 1870 and grew to sell its own brand and private label candies, while Sather began in 1936 and sold rebagged candies and snacks in convenience stores.

The sweet maker’s portfolio includes Chuckles, JujyFruits and Jujubes, all acquired from Hershey Co (HSY.N) in 2002, as well as a batch of brands acquired from Kraft Foods Inc (KFT.N) that year, such as Now and Later and Intense Fruit Chews.

The company makes more than 900 different candy items and produces 42 million pounds of confections a year, which are distributed throughout the United States. It had about $400 million in sales in fiscal 2008.

A sale of Farley’s & Sathers would follow other candy deals, including Kraft’s $18.4 billion acquisition of Britain’s Cadbury Plc earlier this year, and Mars Inc’s purchase of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co in 2008.

Suitors are unlikely to include the major U.S. candy companies since part of Farley’s & Sathers portfolio originated at Hershey and Kraft, one source said. Instead, potential bidders would likely include other private equity firms or an international confectioner that covets a U.S. presence, the source said.

Farley’s & Sathers and Catterton did not respond to a request for comment. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Catterton’s other investments in the food and beverage industry has included Breyers Yogurt, O.N.E. beverages and Cheddar’s Restaurants. (Reporting by Megan Davies and Jessica Hall; Editing by Richard Chang