Dallas-based private investment firm Highlander Partners has acquired the intellectual property, trademarks and associated licensing agreements for 10 chocolate and sugar confectionery brands from Huhtamäki Oyj, a global food and beverage packaging company headquartered in Espoo, Finland.
Brands involved in the transaction include Jolly Rancher, Payday, Whoppers, Heath, Milk Duds, Sixlets, Good & Plenty, Zero, Chuckles and Good & Fruity. Assets associated with these brands will be held in a newly-created entity fully owned by Highlander Partners and its affiliates.
The Hershey Co. will continue to produce and market Jolly Rancher, Payday, Whoppers, Heath, Milk Duds, Good & Plenty, Zero and Good & Fruity as a licensee. Ferrara Candy Co. manufacturers Chuckles, while Chocolate Frey manufacturers Sixlets.
Highlander has also made investments in the confectionery industry through Bettera Brands, a holding company Highlander launched in 2017 for Gimbal’s, manufacturer of gourmet jelly beans and gummy vitamins, and Hillside Candy, manufacturer of organic, sugar-free and medicated confections. It will remain separate from the brands acquired through the Huhtamäki transaction.
“Because Highlander has its own proprietary capital, we can be flexible, creative and non-bureaucratic when structuring and executing acquisitions, as demonstrated by this transaction,” Highlander Partner Alex Guiva said. “These are exceptional brands that are well-known to everyone since childhood. Everyone has a favorite! Many generations grew up loving their taste and will continue to enjoy them. We are proud and excited to be involved with these iconic brands and view them as a great investment that uniquely fits Highlander’s long-term investment strategy.”
Jeff Hull, Highlander president and managing partner agreed, noting the firm has a “strong focus” on investing in the food and beverage categories. Highlander has closed more than 20 transactions in those industries over the last decade.
“With the acquisition of the above-mentioned trademarks, we will continue the strategy of evaluating and acquiring valuable intellectual property, brands, trademarks and related royalty assets in food, beverage, and other industries,” he said.