Nexcen acquires Great American Cookie

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

US acquisition firm Nexcen today said it has purchased the Great
American Cookie brand from the Mrs Fields company for $94m
(€63.5m), hoping to take the treat to overseas markets.

The Great American Cookie currently operates over 300 franchised outlets in the US, competing with brands such as Chips Ahoy! and Oreos for consumers wishing to purchase the classic American snack. For the year ending 31 December 2007, the Great American Cookie posted operating income of $13m (€8.8m) According to the terms of the agreement, Nexcen will pay $89m (€60m) cash and $4.7m (€3.2m) in common stock. A portion of the purchase price involved tapping its debt facility with BTMU Capital Corp, which was increased to $181m (€122m) from $150m (€101m), Nexcen said. Nexcen, an acquisition and management firm focused on brand management, previously purchased bakery and snack firms such as Pretzel Time, Pretzelmaker and Maggie Moo's ice-cream. In a statement, president and chief executive officer Robert D'Loren said he hopes to keep the focus on this area. According to a Mintel report published earlier this month, the US cookie market will experience growth over 2008, although manufacturers will have to focus on niche trends in order to boost individual consumption. Standard cookies still lead the $5.9bn (€4bn) market, representing 57.5 per cent of sales, however, this category lost ground over the five year period, suggesting that more specialised cookies are gaining in popularity, Mintel said. Cookies that target the health trend, not surprisingly, should be the focus on manufacturers, Mintel suggests. According to the report, sales of 'health orientated cookies' grew steadily between 2002 and 2007, gaining 20 per cent in current value. The category experienced particularly strong increases in 2005 and 2006, pushing segment sales up 9.6 per cent and 8.2 per cent respectively.

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