Yamazaki Baking buys bagel maker Bakewise Brands

by Eric Schroeder
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Bakewise Brands bagels
Bakewise Brands is a bagel maker and distributor.

SOUTHLAKE, TEXAS — Tokyo-based Yamazaki Baking Co. has acquired bagel maker and distributor Bakewise Brands from Ancor Capital Partners and Merit Capital Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Based in Macedon, N.Y., Bakewise Brands was established by Merit and Ancor in 2010 as the corporate identity for Fleischer’s Bagels, Inc., which they acquired in 2005, and Tom Cat Bakery, which they acquired in 2008. Fleischer’s, based in Macedon, was founded in 1971, and Tom Cat, operating in Long Island City, N.Y., was established in 1987.

Ray Kingsbury, Ancor Capital
Ray Kingsbury, managing director at Ancor

“We have enjoyed a long relationship with the Bakewise team, and we are extremely proud of the culture established and embraced by the management team and employees,” said Ray Kingsbury, managing director at Ancor. “Bakewise Brands today offers a portfolio of 400 products and 65 years of combined bakery experience, and it is a trusted bakery solutions provider offering a variety of branded and private label programs to premier retail and food service operators throughout the United States, Canada and Caribbean.”

Terry Shipp, managing director of Merit Capital, said the company’s emphasis on product quality, food safety and rapid new product development has been a positive differentiator of Bakewise Brands’ products in the market.

Founded in 1948 by Tojuro Iijima, Yamazaki Baking Co., Ltd., began as a provider of baked foods in the post-World War II era, when most of Japan was still experiencing severe food shortages. In the ensuing years, the company has expanded its offerings, introducing bread and other products from around the world into the Japanese market and contributing to the enhancement of Japanese lifestyles and dietary culture. Today, the company is Japan’s largest baking company with a lineup that includes bread, sweet buns, Japanese-style confectionery, Western-style confectionery, processed bread and prepared rice and side dishes, as well as jam, desserts and prepared foods in retort pouches.

In the year ended Dec. 31, 2015, Yamazaki had net income of 11,095 million yen ($105 million), which compared with 12,048 million yen in fiscal 2014. Net sales during fiscal 2015 totaled 1,027,199 million yen ($9,682 million), up from 995,011 million yen a year ago.  

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