Investment firm acquires Gimbal’s in move to build holding company’s confectionery portfolio
Highlander Partners forms Bettera Brands LLC; folds Hillside Candy into holding company.
Highlander Partners, a Dallas-based private investment firm, has created Bettera Brands, LLC, a new holding company to target acquisitions in the confectionery and snack industries.
Based in San Francisco, Bettera Brands will take a “buy and build” approach to acquisitions, focusing on companies and assets that “have excellent brand equity and strong growth potential,” according to a news release. Bettera’s principals have executed more than 30 transactions in the food, confectionery and snack categories, and will continue to pursue acquisitions of both stand-alone businesses and carve-outs from larger companies.
Among those acquisitions is San Francisco-based Gimbal Brothers, LLC. The company, founded in 1898, produces gourmet jelly beans, licorice and gummy vitamins. Gimbal’s has fully integrated manufacturing capabilities, and its production facility is SQF Level 3 and NSF/CFR111-certified for vitamins and dietary supplements.
The existing owners of Gimbal’s joined the Bettera ownership and will continue their support of the Gimbal’s brand.
Estle Kominowski, former coo of Gimbal’s and newly-appointed ceo of Bettera Brands, says the partnership will allow Gimbal’s and Bettera to expand its customer base.
“I am excited to partner with the Highlander team and complement our expertise with their deep experience, industry relationships and financial resources.” Kominowski says. “As a result of attractive market dynamics, diverse product offerings and solid operational strength, Gimbal’s has experienced strong financial performance that will continue under the Bettera umbrella.”
Highlander Partners, which has $1.2 billion in capital dedicated to private equity investments, has also folded Hillside Candy into Bettera, adding Hillside brands of GoOrganic, GoLightly, Hillside Candy and Pick Your Color to Bettera’s portfolio. Highlander acquired Hillside Candy in November.
Jeff L. Hull, Highlander president and newly-appointed chairman of Bettera, said the holding company will seek quality companies with strong brands, innovation and consumer loyalty.
“Establishing Bettera Brands in conjunction with our acquisition of Gimbal’s shortly after we acquired Hillside will provide a launchpad for additional transactions,” Hull says. “This is just the beginning of our long-term vision. We have a robust pipeline of acquisition opportunities that will complement Bettera’s offerings and enhance the company’s position in the market.”
Regions Bank, as administrative agent, along with a syndicate of participating lenders, provided senior financing and Norwest Mezzanine Partners provided mezzanine debt in support of the transaction. MHT Partners, an independent investment bank headquartered in Dallas, served as the advisor to Gimbal Brothers.