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August 23, 2011

US: Brynwood Partners buys Pearson Candy Co.

US private-equity fund Brynwood Partners VI has bought Minnesota-based confectioner Pearson Candy Co.

US private-equity fund Brynwood Partners has bought Minnesota-based confectioner Pearson Candy Co.

Brynwood, which already owns energy bar firm Balance Bar Co. and has a stake in DeMet’s Candy Co., did not disclose the sale price or other terms and conditions.

Pearson, founded over 100 years ago, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of confectionery brands including Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll, Mint Patties, Nut Goodies and Pearson’s Bun.

Brynwood named Michael Keller, chief marketing officer of International Dairy Queen, as Pearson’s new president and CEO. He replaces Larry Hassler, who will remain with the company as a consultant for a transition period.

Henk Hartong III, senior managing partner at Brynwood, will become Pearson chairman. He described the company as “iconic” in the confectionery sector and a “terrific” addition to Brynwood’s portfolio, which includes energy bar maker Balance Bar Co. and a holding in DeMet’s Candy Co.

He said: “We were looking for a new platform and wanted to use our track record in the confectionery space so Pearson’s was the perfect fit.

“The confectionery business is a huge market with plenty of room for smaller players with interesting products. By partnering with our retail customers we can generate activity for smaller businesses and provide growth in a very big market.”

Brynwood hopes to use the acquisition and the strength of the Pearson brand as a springboard to further growth in the confectionery sector.

Hartong said: “Pearson has products that have been around for a hundred years and a manufacturing facility that has operated for many years. While we have no specific plans at the moment, it provides an excellent base for acquisition.”

Hassler, who has owned and run Pearson since 1985, said: “I am confident that I am leaving the company in good hands with Brynwood.”

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