The Pearson Candy Co. famous for its salted nut roll, mint patties and nut goodies, among others, has a new owner.

Greenwich, Conn.-based Brynwood Partners VI L.P., parent company of DeMet’s Candy Co.,has acquired the company, and as part of the deal, named Michael Keller, a former Dairy Queen executive, as the new president and ceo.

The terms and condition of the transaction, which closed Monday, were not disclosed.

St. Paul, Minnesota-based Pearson, founded more than 100 years ago, most recently was owned by Larry Hassler. Brynwood VI has announced Keller, who served as chief marketing officer of International Dairy Queen, will replace Hassler in the top spot. However, Hassler will remain with the company in a consulting capacity during the transition period.

Henk Hartong II, senior managing partner at Brynwood VI and now chairman of the Pearson Candy Co., says his company hopes the deal will lead to more acquisitions in the candy industry.

"Pearson is an iconic confectionery business and is a terrific addition to Brynwood VI's portfolio,” he says. “We are grateful to have had the chance to work with Larry Hassler and look forward to continuing to grow the great company that he has built."

Hassler, who has owned and operated the company since 1985, says he feels he’s leaving Pearson in good hands.

"Given Brynwood Partners' experience in the food space, I am confident that Brynwood VI will have great success in enhancing the value of the organization," he says.

This is not the first food company Brynwood Partners VI has acquired. The company holds an investment in DeMet's Candy Co., a leading U.S.-based chocolate confectionery company, which manufactures theTurtles,FlipzandTreasuresbrands. Most recently, DeMet's acquired theTrueNorthnut-cluster snack brand from PepsiCo Inc.

In addition, Brynwood VI owns the Balance Bar Co., which was acquired from Kraft Foods, Inc. Brynwood VI recently divested its investment in Richelieu Foods, Inc., a leading U.S.-based manufacturer of private-label frozen pizza and salad dressings. Under Brynwood VI's ownership, RichelieuFoods’ sales grew from approximately $100 million to over $250 million.

For more information on Brynwood Partners,; for more information on Pearson, visit