Godiva owner buys DeMet’s Candy

by Monica Watrous
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GREENWICH, CONN. — Yildiz Holding A.S., Istanbul, Turkey-based owner of the Godiva chocolate brand, is buying DeMet’s Candy Co. from Brynwood Partners V L.P. for $221 million. The transaction is expected to close in January.

DeMet’s Candy, Stamford, Conn.-based maker of premium chocolate products under Turtles, Treasures and Flipz brands, was formed in 2007 by Brynwood V. All of its brands were acquired by Brynwood Partners from Nestle USA in separate transactions.

Following completion of the deal, Peter Wilson, chief executive officer of DeMet’s Candy, will join Brynwood Partners VII L.P., the firm’s most recently raised fund. The rest of DeMet’s Candy’s management team will remain with the company. The company employs approximately 200 people and operates two manufacturing plants in the United States.

“We are delighted to announce the divestiture of DeMet’s Candy,” said Hendrik J. Hartong III, chairman of DeMet’s Candy and senior managing partner, Brynwood Partners. “This investment highlights Brynwood Partners’ unique operational capabilities in the private equity sector. We originally formed DeMet’s Candy in 2007 to acquire the Turtles brand in the U.S. from Nestle USA and combined it with the Flipz brand, which we had acquired from Nestle USA in 2004. After forming DeMet’s Candy we quickly hired a management team, with whom we have worked collaboratively, to create significant shareholder value. We are grateful to DeMet’s Candy’s management team and all of the hard working employees in the manufacturing plants for their tireless efforts under our ownership. We wish Yildiz success with this outstanding company.”

Yildiz Holding produces a range of food and beverage products, including biscuits, margarine and edible oils, dairy products and baby food, with sales in more than 80 countries.

Brynwood Partners has a variety of food companies within its portfolio, including Back to Nature Foods Company L.L.C., 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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