US: BBX Capital builds chocolate holdings with Williams & Bennett buy

By Katy Askew | 17 January 2014

US private-equity firm BBX Capital Corp. has extended its presence in the premium chocolate category in the country through the acquisition of Florida-based Williams & Bennett.

BBX, which acquired Hoffman's Chocolate late last year, said it has established a subsidiary - BBX Sweet Holdings - under which the two businesses will operate.

Williams & Bennett manufactures premium branded and private-label chocolates that are sold to mass and boutique retail chains, department stores, corporate and resort customers.

Commenting on the deal, Williams & Bennett co-founders Becky and Bill Gardner said they were "thrilled" to have found "a partner with the resources and experience" to grow the business.

Show the press release

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwired - January 13, 2014) - BBX Capital Corporation ("BBX Capital") (BBX) today announced that, through a subsidiary, it has acquired Williams & Bennett, a leading Florida based manufacturer of quality chocolate products.

Headquartered in Boynton Beach, Florida, Williams & Bennett is a manufacturer of quality chocolate products serving boutique retailers, big box chains, department stores, national resort properties, corporate customers, and private label brands.

Since 1992, Williams & Bennett has built a reputation of branded chocolate drenched products including Belgian chocolate drenched Oreo® Cookies, Bavarian pretzels, Nutter Butter® Cookies, Marshmallows, Graham Crackers and other confectionary products. Williams & Bennett offers these chocolate creations in distinctive collectable packaging for all occasions.

"For over twenty years, Williams & Bennett has built a premier brand of chocolate products and confections through well-defined distribution channels," commented Mr. Jarett Levan, President of BBX Capital.

"We are thrilled to have found a partner with the resources and experience to grow the Williams & Bennett brand," commented Becky and Bill Gardner, Co-Founders of Williams & Bennett.

In December 2013, BBX Capital announced that it had acquired Hoffman's Chocolate, and its subsidiaries Boca Bons and Good Fortunes, which provides premier chocolate products with a product line of over 70 varieties of confections.

Recently, BBX Capital formed BBX Sweet Holdings, a 100% owned subsidiary to own and hold both these acquisitions.

"The Williams & Bennett and Hoffman's Chocolate acquisitions provide BBX Sweet Holdings with a platform and strategic opportunities to capitalize on the high growth premium chocolate market," said Mr. Levan. "We are very excited about both these acquisitions and the ability to extend our reach into the confectionary market."

These acquisitions, in addition to the Bluegreen acquisition completed in April 2013 and Renin Holdings consummated in November 2013, are part of BBX Capital's strategy to acquire and invest in high quality operating businesses.

Original source: BBX Capital Corporation

Sectors: Confectionery, Mergers & acquisitions

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