Nestle has sold US confectionery brand Bit-O-Honey to Pearson Candy Co., which is owned by private-equity firm Brynwood Partners.

The deal for what Brynwood called "an iconic national brand" was announced yesterday (1 May) for an undisclosed sum.

Pearson and its private-equity owner saw the deal benefiting the buyer and Bit-O-Honey.

"The acquisition of Bit-O-Honey will complement our strong Pearson's business," Henk Hartong III, a senior managing partner at Brynwood and chairman of Pearson, said. "While management continues to focus on product innovation and expanding the company's geographic reach, the Bit-O-Honey brand has strong national awareness. We feel this acquisition will be a conduit to expand the reach of all of Pearson's brands throughout the US."

Pearson president and CEO Michael Keller added: "We plan to bring renewed focus to the Bit-O-Honey brand by increasing its availability to consumers and by offering customers new and innovative Bit-O-Honey products."

Brynwood snapped up Pearson in 2011. The private-equity firm is active in the food sector, buying and selling assets in recent years.

Last year, Brynwood acquired a majority stake in crackers and cookies brand Back to Nature from the then Kraft Foods.

It also sold two food businesses. In December, Brynwood offloaded Sun Country Foods, the owner of the Kretschmer wheat germ brand, to Continental Mills. A monthe earlier, it sold US energy bar brand Balance Bar to vitamin and supplement giant NBTY.

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Pearson Candy Company Acquires Bit-O-Honey from Nestle USA, Inc.

GREENWICH, Conn.May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Brynwood Partners VI L.P. announced today that its portfolio company, Pearson Candy Company, has acquired the Bit-O-Honey confectionery brand from Nestle USA, Inc. The acquisition marks the fifth brand Brynwood Partners has acquired from Nestle. Terms and conditions of the transaction, which closed today, were not disclosed.

Bit-O-Honey is an iconic national brand with over a 90-year history with U.S. consumers. Bit-O-Honey is available in a variety of formats and is widely distributed in the U.S. through leading retailers in the food, drug, mass and dollar channels.

"We are excited to announce the acquisition of the Bit-O-Honey brand," said Michael Keller, President and CEO of Pearson's. Mr. Keller continued, "We look forward to adding the brand into Pearson's, which is known for its Pearson's® Salted Nut Roll, Pearson's® Mint Patties, Pearson's® Nut Goodies and Pearson's® Bun. We plan to bring renewed focus to the Bit-O-Honey brand by increasing its availability to consumers and by offering customers new and innovative Bit-O-Honey products."

"The acquisition of Bit-O-Honey will complement our strong Pearson's business. While management continues to focus on product innovation and expanding the company's geographic reach, the Bit-O-Honey brand has strong national awareness. We feel this acquisition will be a conduit to expand the reach of all of Pearson's brands throughout the U.S.," said Henk Hartong III, Senior Managing Partner of Brynwood VI and Chairman of Pearson's. Mr. Hartong III continued, "On behalf of Brynwood Partners and Pearson's, I would like to thank the Nestle team for its partnership in planning the sale and transition of the business."

Brynwood Partners has developed a unique niche in the corporate carve out sector. In its 29-year history, Brynwood Partners has acquired 37 corporate brands from 14 different corporate sellers, including the Bit-O-Honey acquisition. Since January 2011, the firm has successfully completed the acquisition of 23 corporate brands in 10 separate transactions.

Original source: Brynwood Partners