Kettle Foods may be up for sale

by Eric Schroeder
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SALEM, ORE. — Kettle Foods may be up for sale, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The salty snacks maker has distribution throughout North America, Japan, Guam and Western Europe.

According to the Dec. 9 article, Kettle Foods’ owner, London-based private equity firm Lion Capital L.L.P., recently hired investment bank Rotschild to conduct an auction for the potato crisps maker.

Lion acquired Kettle Foods in September 2006, and according to the WSJ, is hoping to sell the company for about $700 million. Potential suitors mentioned include PepsiCo, Inc. (through its Frito-Lay unit) and Snyder’s of Hanover Inc.

Founded in 1978, Kettle Foods employs approximately 730 and in 2008 had sales of $235 million. The company’s main products include fried potato chips and baked potato chips, and it also manufactures roasted nuts, nut butters and tortilla chips. The company also offers a line of "better-for-you" snacks under the Kettle Bakes brand. Kettle Foods operates manufacturing sites in Salem; Beloit, Wis.; and Norwich, U.K.

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