Is Utz heading for a $1bn deal?

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Some of the snacks produced by Utz. Pic: Utz Quality Foods
Some of the snacks produced by Utz. Pic: Utz Quality Foods

Related tags Utz Quality Foods

Utz Quality Foods is reportedly in talks with special purpose acquisition firm Collier Creek Holdings over a deal that would value the snack producer at more than $1bn, including debt.

According to Bloomberg, the duo began negotiations long before the start of the coronavirus outbreak and a transaction could be reached as soon as this month. However, no decision has been made and negotiations could fall through.

Both companies have declined to comment.

New York-headquartered Collier – founded by former Pinnacle Foods chairman Roger Deromedi and Blackstone Group alums Jason Giordano and Chinh Chu – raised $440m in an initial public offering in 2018 with a focus on buying FMCG and related businesses.

Unique distribution model

Utz was founded by Bill and Sali Utz who started making and selling potato chips  in 1921. Today, the company – which calls itself the ‘largest independent privately held snack brand in the US – also produces pretzels, cheese balls and other snacks.

The producer bumped up its product lineup earlier this year with a range of snacks designed to ‘win over Millennials and Gen Zs and households with families’, including Zapp’s New Orleans style ‘Evil Eye’ Kettle Potato Chips; ​Good Health Creamy Onion & Chive Veggie Chips; TGIF Buffalo Blue Pub Bites and Party Sticks Zesty House Fries; Tortiyas! Blue Corn and White Rounds, Boulder Canyon Gourmet Medley Kettle Style Potato Chips (made from white, russet and blue potatoes); and Utz ridge-cut sea salt potato chips.

“Utz continues its exponential growth through innovation, acquisition and organic growth,”​ said Dylan Lissette, CEO of Utz.

“We continue to focus on emerging trends with our national Power Brands, BFY/Craft and regional local brands. And our unique distribution model provides a quality service that is superior in the snacking business, ensuring fans can find their favourite snacks anytime, anywhere.”

Based in Hanover, Pennsylvania, Utz operates 14 manufacturing facilities around the US, distributing its products through 1,645 Direct Store Delivery Routes (DSD), as well as direct to customers.

Last year, the company agreed to buy Conagra Brands’ direct-store delivery snacks business ​and completed a merger with snack food maker Kitchen Cooked.

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