Pearson Candy Acquires Bit-O-Honey From Nestle USA

Brand has "strong national awareness"

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Brynwood Partners VI LP said that its portfolio company, Pearson Candy Co., has acquired the Bit-O-Honey confectionery brand from Nestle USA Inc. The acquisition marks the fifth brand Brynwood Partners has acquired from Nestle. Terms and conditions of the transaction, which closed May 1, were not disclosed.

Bit-O-Honey is an iconic national brand with a more than 90-year history with U.S. consumers. It is available in a variety of formats and is widely distributed in the U.S. through leading retailers in the food, drug, mass and dollar channels.

"We are excited to announce the acquisition of the Bit-O-Honey brand," said Michael Keller, President and CEO of Pearson's. Mr. Keller continued, "We look forward to adding the brand into Pearson's, which is known for its Pearson's Salted Nut Roll, Pearson's Mint Patties, Pearson's Nut Goodies and Pearson's Bun. We plan to bring renewed focus to the Bit-O-Honey brand by increasing its availability to consumers and by offering customers new and innovative Bit-O-Honey products."

"The acquisition of Bit-O-Honey will complement our strong Pearson's business. While management continues to focus on product innovation and expanding the company's geographic reach, the Bit-O-Honey brand has strong national awareness. We feel this acquisition will be a conduit to expand the reach of all of Pearson's brands throughout the U.S.," said Henk Hartong III, senior managing partner of Brynwood VI and chairman of Pearson's.

"On behalf of Brynwood Partners and Pearson's, I would like to thank the Nestle team for its partnership in planning the sale and transition of the business," he said.

Brynwood Partners has developed a niche in the corporate carve-out sector. In its 29-year history, Brynwood Partners has acquired 37 corporate brands from 14 different corporate sellers, including the Bit-O-Honey acquisition. Since January 2011, the firm has successfully completed the acquisition of 23 corporate brands in 10 separate transactions.

Founded in 1984 and based in Greenwich, Conn., Brynwood Partners is a private-equity fund that makes control investments in lower-middle-market companies. It targets companies operating in the consumer sector where it can leverage the operational expertise of its managing partners to create shareholder value. Brynwood Partners is currently managing more than $500 million of private-equity capital for its limited partners who include U.S. and international pension funds, fund-of-funds, endowments, high-net-worth family investment offices and financial institutions.

Brynwood VI acquired St. Paul, Minn.-based Pearson Candy in August 2011. Pearson's, which has operated for more than 90 years, manufactures and markets the Pearson's Salted Nut Roll, Pearson's Mint Patties, Pearson's Nut Goodies and Pearson's Bun.