Manuka honey maker Wedderspoon Organic Group has been acquired by New Zealand-based investor Masthead.

Wedderspoon will be incorporated into a new holding company, Florenz, set up to house the Christchurch-based investment firm’s consumer portfolio.

Founded in 2005, Wedderspoon’s honey is produced by bees feeding off the Manuka bush on New Zealand’s North and South Islands.

Florenz, which will be headed up by Mike Tod as CEO, will seek to build on Wedderspoon’s presence in North America with the rest of the investor’s portfolio.

The Manuka honey business already serves more than 23,000 retail stores such as Walmart, Whole Foods Market and Costco in the US and Canada. Tod wrote on his LinkedIn page that the business also has a “growing footprint” in Asia, Central America and Europe.

Tod said in a statement announcing the deal that Florenz will pursue other acquisition opportunities as part of its export ambitions.

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“We believe in the ability of Kiwis to compete and win on the global stage and have installed an outstanding team at Florenz with deep global experience,” he added. “Through Florenz, we have started assembling and growing a complementary series of businesses.”

Florenz will become of a subsidiary of Masthead, which is owned by the Stewart family in New Zealand. Financial terms behind the Wedderspoon acquisition were not disclosed.

Led by CEO Rebecca Remley, who will remain with the company post-transaction, Wedderspoon supplies bottled Manuka honey, lozenges and apple cider vinegar.

Tod said the company is the “largest seller of New Zealand-sourced and manufactured Manuka honey products in North America”.

He added: “It is terrific to be able to support Rebecca and her team on this next chapter of the Wedderspoon journey as the company seeks to accelerate growth through online and bricks-and-mortar sales in the United States, Canada and Europe.

“Product innovation is a key enabler of this type of success and the team has exciting customer-led product developments in the pipeline.”

Through Masthead, Florenz’s current investment portfolio includes New Zealand-based vitamins and supplements exporter Xtend-Life Group, ingredients manufacturer Dry Food New Zealand and sports nutrition business 2Before Performance Nutrition.

Florenz is also an investor in local herbal remedies company Harker Herbals Products.

However, the Ziwi pet-food business in New Zealand was recently let go, according to the statement.