Seattle-headquartered Theo Chocolate has announced its intent to merge with US candy manufacturer American Licorice Company.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The merger with American Licorice is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023.
Theo Chocolate is planning to close its Seattle plant and reduce office staff as part of an ongoing restructuring exercise that started in the second quarter of 2023. These steps will result in 60 employees being laid off in the second half of the year.
“Like other businesses, we are contending with rising costs across all aspects of our manufacturing and supply chain, requiring us to change. We’ve had to make some tough but necessary decisions to ensure the company’s long-term viability,” said Etienne Patout, CEO of Theo Chocolate.
“We are incredibly grateful for our dedicated team members who have championed Theo’s mission. We are committed to supporting those impacted by the transition ahead. Impacted employees were offered a severance package, including COBRA medical coverage and payouts of PTO balances, as well as access to mental health and job search resources.”
Theo Chocolate was established in 2006. Its organic product portfolio includes chocolate bars, selection boxes, drinking chocolate, caramel pieces and other confectionery items.
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The sweets maker will continue to be present in Seattle with its headquarters, flagship store and confectionery kitchen.
American Licorice Company is based in Indiana and supplies brands such as Red Vines and Sour Punch. According to The Seattle Times, it employs 667 workers across the US, and generated revenue of $156.2 million last year.
Elsewhere in confectionery, Nestlé received the green light to acquire Garoto in June, more than two decades after signing an agreement to buy the Brazilian chocolate maker.
The world’s largest food maker struck a deal to acquire Garoto in 2002 but has been awaiting full competition clearance.
Meanwhile, Belgian private-equity firm Verlinvest, the investment vehicle of the de Spoelberch family, increased its holding in Netherlands-based chocolate business, Tony’s Chocolonely last month as part of a €20m ($21.8m) funding round.
The cash amount Verlinvest, which was already Tony’s largest shareholder, invested is unknown but its total shareholding has increased from 43.1% to 55.9%. Its percentage of voting shares has increased from 50.1% to 64.2%.
Also in June, UK-based chocolate company Montezuma’s was sold to local business Paramount Retail Group for an undisclosed fee.