Snacking brands Kar’s Nuts and Sanders merge

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kar's Nuts and Sanders have merged. Pic: ©GettyImages/fotocelia
Kar's Nuts and Sanders have merged. Pic: ©GettyImages/fotocelia

Related tags: Nuts, Mergers and acquisitions, Confectionery

Two Detroit snack companies have completed a merger that brings the Kar’s Nuts and Sanders brands under the same umbrella.

KNPC Holdco – manufacturer of nut and trail mix snacks sold under the Kar’s and Second Nature brands – has amalgamated with Morley Candy Makers, makers of confectionery products sold under the Sanders Fine Chocolatiers brand.

The union will allow the two companies to expand the reach of their snack and confectionery products to more store shelves across the US.

“Sanders is a successful company with a legacy of customer loyalty and quality products. As we consistently evaluate growth opportunities, this merger is ideal for Kar’s Nuts as we expand our reach in the snacking industry,”​ said Nick Nicolay, Kar’s president.

No expected layoffs

Clinton Township-based Sanders will operate as its own division within the combined company, and the workforces of both companies will remain in place. Kar’s has about 225 employees and Morley Candy Makers around 200.

Nicolay will serve as CEO of the combined company, which will be headquartered in Madison Heights, Michigan. Sanders’ CEO Brian Jefferson will remain in place through the transition with plans to retire once the two companies are fully integrated.

The combined companies are forecast to post around $185m in revenue for 2018.

Kar’s on its own reported annual revenues of about $140m. The deal is the nut and trail mix maker’s first acquisition since receiving a major investment in March 2017 by an affiliate of New York-based private-equity firm Palladium Equity Partners, which has $2.7bn in assets.

Palladium and other Kar’s Nuts equity holders made follow-on investments to support the acquisition and the future growth of the combined company.

Detroit-born

Both brands have deep roots in Detroit. Sanders was started in Detroit in 1875 when Fred Sanders Schmidt opened a candy shop. Kar’s Nuts also began in Detroit in 1933 when Sue Kar started roasting peanuts at home to sell at Tiger Stadium, then called Navin Field.

Related topics: Ingredients, Snacks, Manufacturers

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