US snacks business Shearer’s Foods is to get new owners in the shape of local investor Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R).

CD&R has agreed to buy Shearer’s from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) fund for an undisclosed sum. Earlier reports had speculated a buy-out deal for Shearer’s could be worth $3bn.

It was first suggested in August that the OTPP Canadian pension fund was eyeing a sale of Ohio-based private-label snack maker and co-manufacturer Shearer’s.

Confirming a deal had been struck yesterday (13 December), John Compton, CD&R operating partner and a former CEO of PepsiCo North America, said: “We have deep admiration and respect for Shearer’s, a leading business that shares our core values in a sector and operating model we know and understand well.”

CD&R partner JL Zrebiec added: “We have strong conviction in the differentiated manufacturing capabilities and category management the company provides and our goal is to support the team in further scaling operations and capturing the many opportunities ahead to better serve Shearer’s customers.”

Shearer’s CEO Mark McNeil said: “As Shearer’s enters a new phase of growth, we are excited to be joined by a team with the experience, expertise and resources to support our mission of producing high-quality, innovative and delicious snacks that we are proud to serve to our families, friends, customers and retailers.”

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By GlobalData

As well as private-label snacks and cookies, Shearer’s Foods, founded in the early 1900s, co-manufactures crisps, tortillas, popcorn and pork rinds. It also produces organic, gluten-free and non-GMO kosher salty snacks, including kettle-cooked potato crisps, cheese curls and extruded snacks.

The company has 17 manufacturing facilities across the US and Canada.

Having initially invested in Shearer’s in 2012, OTPP acquired an additional stake in 2015 from private-equity firm Wind Point Partners to give the pension fund a majority ownership.

On its exit from the business, Raymond Shiu, OTPP’s managing director for private capital, said: “Over the past decade, we have been proud to partner with the Shearer’s management team as it established itself as a market leader in North America for private-label and contract manufactured salty snacks, cookies and crackers. Shearer’s has achieved this position by consistently delivering high-quality and innovative products, while expanding its market presence.”

CD&R is privately owned by its partners and has offices in New York and London.

It invests in businesses that span a broad range of industries, including industrial, healthcare, consumer, technology and financial services end markets.