Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) are rapidly gaining popularity as a way to take a company public without the traditional initial public offering (IPO) process.
Collier Creek – a SPAC that completed its IPO in 2018, raising $440 million in proceeds – recently completed a merger with Utz, contributing $488m in cash in the process and enabling the 99-year-old snack brand to go public.
Under the merger, the newly formed Utz Brands will operate as a pure-play branded snack food platform in the US.
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 – retain more than 50% ownership in Utz Brands.
Utz Brands’ Board of Directors will be composed of a majority of independent directors as per the listing rules of the New York Stock Exchange. Deromedi will become chairman of Utz Brands.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Lissette added, "Regardless if we came public through a SPAC or through a traditional IPO, we're a public company today under UTZ on the New York Stock Exchange. Investors that have clamoured to want to be a part of Utz for decades now can buy into the stock and be a part of our future."
Utz – the fourth-largest salty snack brand in the US behind PepsiCo, Campbell and Kellogg – expects to generate net sales of $932m in 2020. The Pennsylvania-based producer’s portfolio of authentic, craft and better-for-you brands includes Utz, Zapp’s, Golden Flake, Good Health, Boulder Canyon, Hawaiian Brand and TORTIYAHS!, among others.
“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.
“Utz is an iconic company with a strong portfolio of beloved snack brands, growing positions in the salty snack category, and a competitively advantaged manufacturing and distribution network.”
Earlier this month, Utz-owned brand Good Health teamed up with Organic Valley to launch Good Health Organic Baked Cheese Puffs and Baked Cheese Fries, aimed at families looking for healthier snacking options.
Made with real cheese from Organic Valley’s pasture-raised cows, the snacks are gluten-free and carry the trusted USDA Organic label.
The snack producer also added Guacamole flavoured TORTIYAHS! tortilla chips to its lineup, inspired by the American consumer’s growing passion for all things avocado. According to the company, TORTIYAHS! sales have quadrupled in the past two years. Available in Restaurant Style, White Dipping Rounds, Cantina Style, Blue Corn, Brazilian Lime and now Guacamole, the tortilla chips are packed in convenient 10oz and 12.5 oz take home packs.