Snacks & Candy

Conflicting Reports in Results of Necco Bankruptcy Auction

Private-equity firm Metropoulos & Co. acquires candy maker for $17.3 million

GREENWICH, Conn. -- The New England Confectionery Co. (Necco) has been acquired by private-equity firm Metropoulos & Co. for $17.3 million, according to a company press release. The acquisition was made and closed May 31 during Necco’s federal bankruptcy auction.

Previous reports suggested that Necco was acquired for nearly $19 million by the Spangler Co., an independent confectionery company based in Bryan, Ohio. No comments have been released regarding the change in buyers from a week earlier.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Metropoulos team given their impressive track record working with great consumer brands and strong commitment to supporting customers with outstanding products and service levels going forward,” said Michael McGee, CEO of Necco.

The deal concludes a rocky past few months for Necco. In March, McGee revealed the company would lay off about 400 workers and executives if it couldn’t find a buyer by May. No acquisition occurred. Consequently, Necco filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, forcing the federally required auction.

On April 10, at the height of the turmoil, Necco management posted a message via the brand’s Facebook page, addressing the future of the company. “All I can say is that we are unsure of our future but hopeful for a buyer to keep this sweet and nostalgic brand alive for many more decades,” Necco management said. “We thank you for all your love and support.”

For Metropoulos & Co., the acquisition continues the company's strategy of acquiring and reviving nostalgic consumer-product brands.

“Acquiring Necco is a special opportunity to create a robust platform designed to build critical mass and create the potential for consolidating additional confectionery brands in the near future,” said Daren Metropoulos, co-owner of Metropoulos.

Greenwich, Conn.-based Metropoulos is a family-owned investment firm specializing in businesses in the food, beverage and consumer products sectors. Its brand entities include Hostess, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Style, Ghirardelli, Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth’s.

Revere, Mass.-based Necco produces brands such as Necco Wafers, the Valentine's Day staple Sweethearts, Clark Bars, Sky Bars, Canada Mints, Candy Buttons, Mary Jane and Haviland Thin Mints. The 117-year-old confectionery company was previously owned by New York-based investment firm Ares Capital.

Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart.

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