Back to Nature buys SnackWell’s business

by Eric Schroeder
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GREENWICH, CONN. — Back to Nature Foods Company, L.L.C., a portfolio company of Brynwood Partners VI L.P., has acquired the SnackWell’s cookies and snacks business from Mondelēz Global L.L.C. The announcement comes less than a week after Brynwood sold DeMet’s Candy Co. to Yildiz Holding A.S., Istanbul, Turkey-based owner of the Godiva chocolate brand, for $221 million.

Brynwood and Mondelēz Global formed the Back to Nature joint venture in 2012. As part of the partnership, Brynwood maintained operating control while Mondelēz Global retained a minority position in the new company.

SnackWell’s was launched by Nabisco, Inc. in 1992 as a line of reduced-fat and fat-free cookies and crackers. The brand’s products include creme sandwich cookies, devil’s food cakes, fudge pretzels, yogurt pretzels and popcorn products in portion control sizes. SnackWell’s products are distributed in the United States through leading retailers.

“We look forward to owning the SnackWell’s brand and integrating it into our Back to Nature organization,” said Vincent Fantegrossi, president and chief executive officer of Back to Nature. “Its healthy attributes, loyal consumer base, and strong distribution make SnackWell’s a very complementary product line offering to our Back to Nature products. SnackWell’s is an iconic brand, and we are excited about the potential that this acquisition brings to our company. SnackWell’s significantly increases our scale in the important cookie and cracker categories.”

Henk Hartong, senior managing partner of Brynwood and non-executive chairman of Back to Nature, said he was “thrilled” with the transaction and “honored” that Mondelēz Global had the confidence in Brynwood Partners to add another brand to its joint venture arrangement

“We are excited to continue to work with Mondelēz Global L.L.C. in our collective efforts to maximize the value of Back to Nature, which will be enhanced by the addition of SnackWell’s,” Mr. Hartong said.

In its 29-year history, Brynwood Partners has now acquired 39 corporate brands from 15 different corporate sellers, including the SnackWell’s acquisition. The SnackWell’s transaction marks Brynwood Partners’ second transaction with Mondelēz Global in addition to two others with Kraft Foods Inc., the predecessor company of Mondelēz Global’s parent, Mondelēz International, Inc.

Founded in 1984, Brynwood Partners has a variety of food companies within its portfolio, including Pearson Candy Co., and Lightlife Foods, Inc., which it bought from ConAgra Foods in September. Earlier this year, Brynwood Partners sold its TrueNorth brand of nut clusters, which was previously part of its DeMet’s Candy portfolio, to B&G Foods, Inc.
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