Newport Beach, Calif.-based LEAF Brands has announced it will be among the potential buyers vying for Nestlé’s U.S. confectionery brands.
Switzerland-based Nestlé S.A. said in June it was “exploring strategic options” for its nearly $1-billion U.S. confectionery business, including a possible sale. The company said it would conduct a strategic review on the U.S. market this year.
Nestlé's U.S. confectionery division pulled in $922 million in 2016 — about 3 percent of its $27.4-billion U.S. business, the company said in a news release. It primarily includes chocolate brands such as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, 100 Grand, SkinnyCow, Raisinets, Chunky, OhHenry! and SnoCaps, as well as sugar brands such as SweeTarts, LaffyTaffy, Nerds, FunDip, PixyStix, Gobstopper, BottleCaps, Spree and Runts. It also includes the international chocolate brand Crunch.
LEAF Brands — which has resurrected Astro Pops, Hydrox Cookies and two former Nestlé/Wonka products, Wacky Wafers and tart n’ tinys — has decided to participate in the auction for Nestlé’s U.S. candy business.
“We spent many years rolling the products back to their original (and successful) designs after many failed versions by Nestlé, and during that period we’ve had the opportunity to interact with many of the current and past Nestlé confectionery employees, which has helped us to understand their business,” LEAF Brands CEO Ellia Kassoff said in a news release. “We know what it will take to revive and grow the Nestlé business in the U.S. and feel there is tremendous opportunity for us to partner with other investors to make the new company the most innovative, creative and profitable company in the U.S. confectionery space.”
Kassoff said distribution is a key factor in LEAF’s decision to pursue Nestlé’s U.S. candy brands. As LEAF continues to grow, integrating its current brands into Nestlé’s distribution channel would be a “win-win” for both companies, he said. LEAF will soon relaunch other brands, including Bonkers! fruit chews.