The DeMet’s Candy Co. has been sold to Istanbul-based Yildiz Holdings A.S., owner of the Godiva chocolate brand.

The $221-million deal hasn’t closed yet, but is expected to close this month. 

Demets Turtles

“In this case, it was just time to sell the business,” says Hendrik J. Hartong III, senior managing partner at Brynwood Partners, which was the owner of DeMet’s, and past chairman at DeMet’s Candy Co.

Hartong says the company had been in the process of marketing the company for sale since the middle of 2013 and the deal was signed Dec. 24, 2013 and made public Dec. 27.

“One of the things that’s the most difficult about the private investment business is that you have to let go of the things that mean the most to you,” Hartong says. “It’s been a very successful investment, but the people and the product have meant a great deal to me personally and Brynwood. But we are glad to see it acquired by a firm that’s excited about the prospect of the business.”

The plan to sell came at the perfect time for Yildiz Holding, a leading global food and beverages company. The company was looking to expand internationally and North America was an important part of that expansion, says Jim Zaza, Yildiz Holding vice chairman of the Board of Directors.

“Over the last one year, the business development and corporate strategy teams of Yildiz Holding had identified and reviewed several acquisition targets in North America,” Zaza says. “The DeMet's Candy Co. was a very clear and strong fit with Yildiz' strategic objectives and intent; strong and well recognized brands, wide distribution reach, consistent growth and a very strong and experienced team.”

The deal is nothing out of the ordinary for Brynwood Partners, according to Hartong, who says that from a transitional point of view it is business as usual to sell the stock of a company to a new owner. The company owned DeMet’s Candy for nearly ten years and as a part of its charter it needed to return the capitol back to its investors, Hartong explains.

Founded in 1984, Brynwood Partners is a private equity fund that makes controlled investments in North American-based lower middle market companies in the consumer sector.

Since the closing, Peter Wilson, the DeMet’s Candy ceo, has joined the team at Brynwood Partners VII L.P., Brynwood Partners' most recently raised fund. The rest of DeMet's Candy's management team will remain with the company.

DeMet's Candy, headquartered in Stamford, Conn., is a leading U.S. manufacturer and marketer of premium priced chocolate confection products under the Turtles, Treasures, and Flipz brands. It formed in 2007 when all of the DeMet’s brands were acquired by Brynwood Partners from Nestle USA in separate transactions.

Founded in 1944, Yildiz Holding A.S. has a sales presence in more than 80 countries. Yildiz produces a range of products, including biscuits, chocolate and chocolate-covered products, margarine and edible oils, beverages, dairy products, culinary products, and baby food.