Highlander Partners acquires Hillside Candy
Dallas investment firm sees purchase as building block for future acquisitions.
Highlander Partners, L.P., a Dallas-based middle-market private investment firm, has purchased Hillside Candy. Founded in 1945, the Hillside, N.J.-based manufacturer and marketer of premium organic, sugar-free and traditional confection products sells them under the GoOrganic, GoLightly, Pick Your Color and Hillside Sweets brands.
Hillside adheres to strict quality guidelines, and its production facility is SQF Level 3 certified. All of the company's products are manufactured in the United States with a focus on no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors. It holds organic, kosher and non-GMO certifications. Additionally, Hillside manufactures premium products for customers in the nutraceutical industry and provides a variety of private label offerings.
"GoOrganic and GoLightly are exceptional brands that deliver high-quality, clean label and mouth-watering products,” says Alex Guiva, chairman of Hillside and partner at Highlander. “It is no secret that retailers dedicate more and more shelf space to organic and sugar-free products and these trends are here to stay.
“We are excited to partner with a leading organic and sugar-free company in the confection space, and we will continue Hillside's business strategy of innovation, creativity, flexibility and customer service,” he adds. “In addition to growing its existing base of business, Hillside will serve as a platform for future strategic acquisitions that will expand our offerings, sales channels and scale."
Ted Cohen, a candy industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience, will continue serving as president of Hillside. "I am excited to partner with the Highlander team to continue the growth of the Hillside business,” he says. “Highlander and its principals have a long history of success in the confection and food industries, and I am looking forward to expanding our company with a partner that brings such deep and relevant experience together with financial resources to our business."
The company’s GoOrganic line is one of the earliest and most successful brands in the organic confectionery space. The brand responds to the consumers' desire for clean ingredients in confectionery treats and offers hard candies in a variety of flavors, the company says.
Its GoLightly brand is one of the first sugar-free confection brands that has built a loyal consumer following with its selection of more than 30 unique flavors. Pick Your Color and Hillside Candy brands offer sugar-based hard candy with more than 20 flavors, serving the needs of specialty retailers and hospitality customers.
All of Hillside’s products are sold direct and through distributors to grocery and drugstore chains, mass merchandisers, club stores, gourmet retailers, gift companies and other channels domestically and internationally. In addition, Hillside's capabilities include incorporating nutraceutical ingredients into confectionery delivery systems, a growing trend in the nutraceutical space.
With more than $1.2 billion of assets under management, Highlander Partners focuses on making investments in businesses in targeted industries in which the principals of the firm have significant operating and investing experience, including basic manufacturing, food and beverage, specialty chemicals, building materials, consumer products, and others. Highlander Partners uses a "buy and build" investment approach, creating value by helping companies grow organically and through acquisitions.
HT Capital Advisors, LLC, an independent New York City-based investment bank, served as the advisor to Hillside Candy.