HANOVER, Pa. — Snack manufacturer Utz Quality Foods LLC and equity investment firm Collier Creek Holdings have completed their business combination.
Collier Creek, a “special purpose acquisition company,” and Utz have combined to form Utz Brands Inc., a pure-play snack food platform in the U.S., as previously reported in CSP Daily News. The common stock of Utz Brands began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 31 under the ticker symbol “UTZ.”
“The completion of our business combination with Collier Creek and the initiation of Utz as a public company, marks a significant milestone and will fuel our next century of growth after nearly 100 years as a family-owned business,” said Utz CEO Dylan Lissette. “We have spent the last 10 years building Utz into a national brand and platform through rapid geographic and brand portfolio expansion driven by strategic acquisitions and organic growth. Our partnership with … the Collier Creek team positions us to further accelerate our growth as a public company and achieve our goal of being the fastest-growing, pure-play branded snack company of scale.”
Founded in 1921, Utz has a strong heritage in the salty snack industry in the U.S. and more than 40 years of continued growth. The company’s portfolio of brands includes Utz, Zapp’s, Golden Flake, Good Health, Boulder Canyon, Hawaiian Brand and Tortiyahs!, among others. The Company operates 14 manufacturing facilities nationwide with a broad range of capabilities and produces a full line of potato chips, pretzels, cheese snacks, veggie snacks, pork skins, pub/party mixes, tortilla chips and other snacks, including better-for-you snacking options. Utz expects to generate net sales of $932 million in 2020.
Lissette has served as Utz’s CEO since 2013 and has worked at the company for almost 25 years. He will continue to lead the business along with the existing management team. Utz Brands will remain headquartered in Hanover, Pa.
“Leveraging our proven track record of profitable growth and the Collier Creek team’s expertise in driving value creation in food platform companies, we have multiple ways to win in the growing salty snack category,” Lissette said. “Our growth strategy is focused on driving organic sales growth through increased marketing, new products and geographic expansion; executing significant margin enhancement opportunities; reinvesting productivity gains into the business to unlock topline growth; and continuing to build the Utz platform with strategic acquisitions.”
New York-based Collier Creek was co-founded by Chinh Chu, Roger Deromedi and Jason Giordano, who bring more than 80 years of combined investing and operating experience, with a focus on the consumer goods sector. Deromedi, who has served as chairman of Pinnacle Foods and CEO of Kraft Foods, will become chairman of Utz Brands. Utz Brands’ board of directors will be composed of a majority of independent directors under the applicable listing rules of the New York Stock Exchange.
“Our partnership with Utz brings together the financial and human capital of Collier Creek with an exceptional 100-year-old company that has significant competitive advantages and runway for profitable growth,” said Deromedi. “We are excited to partner with Dylan and the talented Utz management team to execute our proven operating playbook and drive value for all of our stakeholders.”
Proceeds from the transaction were used primarily to repay existing borrowings at Utz. The Rice and Lissette family, the founding family and owners of Utz, retained more than 90% of its existing equity stake, which represents more than 50% ownership in Utz Brands following completion of the transaction.