Further expanding its presence in the snack food category, The Hershey Co. will acquire Skinny Pop maker Amplify Snack Brands, Inc., early next year.
Hershey has agreed to pay $12 per share in cash for all of Amplify’s outstanding shares. The $1.6-billion transaction also includes net debt and a make-whole payment of $76 million. The acquisition is expected to save $20 million over the next two years through cost savings and portfolio optimization.
Both companies’ governing boards have approved the agreement, and stockholders owning 57 percent of Amplify’s outstanding shares are expected to tender their shares in the transaction.
Hershey President and CEO Michele Buck described acquiring the three-year-old company and its product portfolio as a step toward becoming an “innovative snacking powerhouse.” Hershey acquired KRAVE jerky in 2015.
“Hershey's snack mix and meat snacks products, combined with Amplify's Skinny Pop, Tyrrells, Oatmega, Paqui and other international brands, will allow us to capture more consumer snacking occasions by creating a broader portfolio of brands." 
Citing Nielsen data, Hershey said in its March investor update that it is second in the $103-billion U.S. snacking market with 7.5 percent of the market share. That’s half of Pepisco’s share — 14 percent — and nearly equivalent to Mars’ 7.3-percent slice.
In a release announcing the acquisition, Hershey noted Amplify's brands compete in categories that capitalize on fast-growing trends in snacking, with a focus on better-for-you products that deliver clean, simple and transparent ingredients, as well as unique flavors and forms. Additionally, it brings customers a known brand-building partner that invests in category management solutions to drive higher levels of conversion and velocity at retail.
"This transaction is a continuation of our mission as Hershey also believes in bringing to consumers great-tasting snacks made with the best ingredients possible,” said Tom Ennis, Amplify Snack Brands, Inc. president and ceo. “Hershey is a great cultural partner for Amplify, and I'm excited for our team who will have access to Hershey's marketing and go-to-market resources to take our brands to the next level.”