BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Hostess Brands, Inc. on Jan. 3 finalized the acquisition of Voortman Cookies Ltd. from private equity firm Swander Pace Capital in a transaction valued at approximately $320 million in cash.
Founded in 1951, Voortman Cookies has evolved from a Hamilton, Ont., bakery opened by two young Dutch brothers, William and Harry Voortman, into a thriving business that ranks as the No. 1 player in crème wafers and sugar-free cookies, as reported by Nielsen for the 52-week period ended Nov. 2, 2019. According to Nielsen, Voortman has achieved compound annual point-of-sale growth over the last three years of around 5%.
Approximately 74% of Voortman’s sales are generated in the United States, with 21% of sales in Canada and 5% in other countries. Crème wafers and sugar-free cookies each account for about 39% of product sales, with specialty cookies making up the remaining 22% of sales.
The company operates seven cookie and three wafer lines, with an additional wafer line in the process of being commissioned, at its headquarters in Burlington, Ont.
Swander Pace Capital had held a majority stake in Voortman since 2015. At the time of its investment, Swander said it would be partnering with Harry Voortman and senior management to help the company build upon its market share, distribution footprint and product offering. In 2017, Voortman underwent a brand relaunch that included a new logo and packaging, new recipes and updated flavors. The company also reformulated its products to remove artificial colors and flavors, as well as high-fructose corn syrup.
“It has been a genuine pleasure partnering with management and the Voortman family to help the company reach its full potential,” said Tyler Matlock, director at Swander Pace Capital. “For nearly seven decades, Voortman has demonstrated, time and again, its ability to innovate and grow while delivering consistent quality and service to its customers. We are very appreciative of the immense support provided by Harry Voortman and his team that helped make this relationship a successful one. We believe Hostess will be an exceptional steward of the brand as Voortman continues its trajectory of growth.”
When the acquisition was first announced late last year, Andrew P. Callahan, president and chief executive officer of Hostess, said the addition of Voortman fits Hostess’ strategy, creating “a larger and more diversified sweet snacking company with a unique and differentiated product suite in the adjacent $8.4 billion cookie category.”
“Voortman has a well-defined consumer proposition that complements and extends the growing Hostess portfolio into the growing cookie and better-for-you snacking categories,” he said at the time. “The brand is at the right phase of development to benefit from Hostess’ core capabilities and proven operating model to grow distribution and brand awareness while reducing operating costs. Voortman’s household penetration is relatively low, providing a long runway for growth. Additionally, we believe our strong merchandising capabilities and customer relationships at food, c-store, drug, mass and other key retailers can help accelerate Voortman’s growth trajectory. We expect to realize further benefits of scale via shared, established, efficient infrastructure and strengthening of collaborative retail partnerships in the United States and Canada.”