Stamford-based DeMet’s will be sold for $221 million after a deal signed by Brynwood and Istanbul-based Yildiz Holdings. The transaction is expected to close in January 2014.
DeMet’s is a leading manufacturer and marketer of “premium-priced chocolate confection products” under the Turtles, Treasures and Flipz brands, said the Brynwood news release announcing the deal.
Brynwood previously acquired all of the DeMet’s brands in separate transactions from Nestle USA. Its current holdings include the Zest soap brands, White Rain hair care and body wash brand and the Lightlife brand of vegetarian-based burgers, hot dogs and other meatless frozen and refrigerated foods.
“This investment highlights Brynwood Partners’ unique operational capabilities in the private equity sector. We originally formed DeMet’s Candy in 2007 to acquire the Turtles brand in the U.S. from Nestlé USA and combined it with the Flipz brand, which we had acquired from Nestlé USA in 2004,” said Hendrik J. Hartong III, chairman of DeMet’s Candy and senior managing partner of Brynwood Partners, in the release.
“After forming DeMet’s Candy we quickly hired a management team, with whom we have worked collaboratively, to create significant shareholder value,” Hartong added. “We are grateful to DeMet’s Candy’s management team and all of the hard-working employees in the manufacturing plants for their tireless efforts under our ownership. We wish Yildiz success with this outstanding company.”
Brynwood could more than quadruple its investment in DeMet’s, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing a person familiar with the matter.
DeMet’s Candy has about 200 employees and operates two manufacturing sites in the U.S. Since 2007, it has significantly expanded its sales, production and profitability, the release said. The company in recent years built its plant in Big Flats, N.Y., adding about 150 jobs to that region. The company also “significantly” invested in and upgraded another facility in Mohnton, Pa., the release said.
Peter Wilson, the DeMet’s CEO, will join Brynwood Partners after the deal closes, the release said. The rest of DeMet’s management team will apparently remain in place.
Brynwood Partners was founded in 1984. It specializes in “control investments in North American-based lower middle market companies” in the consumer sector, the release said. It currently manages more than $900 million of private-equity capital for limited partners that include U.S. and international pension funds, fund-of-funds, endowments, high-net-worth family investment offices and financial institutions, the release said.
Yildiz Holding was founded in 1944 and purchased Godiva in 2008. Through its subsidiaries, it makes everything from biscuits to chocolates to beverages to baby food. It has sales in over 80 countries, employs about 40,000 people globally and has 56 factories — 47 of which are in Turkey and nine of which are in nine other countries, the release said.
Here’s a look behind the DeMet’s operation in Big Flats, N.Y.: