The Ferrero Group will buy Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Ferrara Candy Co. from private equity firm L Catterton, the companies announced Wednesday.
Ferrero, which purchased the Fannie May and Harry London brands earlier this year, hopes to further strengthen its foothold in the U.S. confectionery market through Ferrara’s position as a leading manufacturer of gummy and sugar items, particularly under the Trolli, Brachs and Black Forest Organics brands.
At the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, Ferrero announced it will introduce in January Kinder Joy, a take on the famed Kinder Surprise that meets U.S. safety requirements. Also in May, Ferrero opened the first Nutella Café in Chicago, offering a range of Nutella-based products, along with beverages, sandwiches and soups.
Ferrero Executive Chairman Giovanni Ferrero welcomed Ferrara into his company’s portfolio of companies and brands.
“With this acquisition, we are continuing to increase our overall footprint and product offering in the important U.S. market, establishing a presence in new confectionery categories with attractive growth prospects, including gummy and seasonal candies,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to grow the Ferrara business, investing in its brands to support expansion plans, leveraging its U.S. manufacturing plants and distribution centers, and creating opportunities for its talented people.”
Under the agreement, Ferrara will operate as a separate unit, maintaining its headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace. Ferrero has no plans to further consolidate Ferrara’s manufacturing and distribution footprint, which includes four plants in Bellwood and Forest Park, Ill., and Reynosa and Vernell, Mexico, two distribution centers in Bolingbrook, Ill. and Grand Prairie, Texas, and an engineering and R&D center in Bellwood.
L Catterton, which had owned Farley’s & Sathers since 2002, facilitated that company’s merger with Ferrara Pan, forming Ferrara Candy Co. in 2012.
“We’re proud of our long and successful partnership with Ferrara and the significant growth and brand expansion our candy portfolio achieved over many years,” said Scott Dahnke, global co-ceo of L Catterton. “Ferrara is a great company, with iconic brands and the best talent in the industry. We are pleased to have partnered with Ferrara’s management team to help drive the company’s success during a period of significant change in the candy industry. This transaction represents a terrific outcome for Ferrara and L Catterton, and we are confident that Ferrara will thrive and reach new heights in collaboration with Ferrero.”
Subject to regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.