In a potential blockbuster move that will shake up the salted snack industry, Snyder’s of Hanover plans to purchase its rival, Utz Quality Foods.

In a potential blockbuster move that will shake up the salted snack industry, Snyder’s of Hanover plans to purchase its rival, Utz Quality Foods.

Carl Lee, Jr., president and CEO of Snyder’s of Hanover, Hanover, Pa., made the announcement. The acquisition of Utz Quality Foods, Inc., which also is based in Hanover, Pa., is pending clearance from the Federal Trade Commission.

According to Lee, the acquisition will help to strengthen both the Utz and Snyder’s distribution systems and will add to the depth and breadth of Snyder’s of Hanover’s product line. Currently, Snyder’s of Hanover produces pretzels under its flagship Snyder’s of Hanover brand, but also owns Krunchers! Kettle Chips, O-KE-DOKE popcorn and Jays Potato Chips from a 2007 acquisition of Chicago-based Jays Foods.

Snyder’s of Hanover plans to continue operating all four of the Utz plants. There are no anticipated job losses at this time. The company’s chairman, Mike Warehime, added that the two companies are “highly complementary in terms of product line and geographic reach.”

“Merging our companies together will bring out the best in our respective brands, our people, and our cultures and improve our long-term viability in the snack food industry,” he says.

Mike Rice, Utz. Quality Foods chairman and CEO, will serve as a director on the Snyder’s of Hanover board.

“Our two companies have a lot of similarities:  we are both privately held, family owned and operated businesses, and we have tremendous community involvement and support local initiatives for the betterment of our community,” he says. “The Rice family is excited to be an important part of the new merged entity and to partner with the Snyder’s team to create an innovative company focused on growth.”

Tom Dempsey, president of Utz Quality Foods, says the company couldn’t find a better partner in protecting and expanding the Utz brand.

“We are confident that this merger will be good for our brands, our customers, our vendors and all of the Utz employees,” Dempsey says. “We are excited that we’ll be able to join forces to make both companies stronger and to have a continued positive impact and presence in the community.”

With the Jays Foods transaction, Snyder’s of Hanover took a struggling company and bolstered its presence in its core Chicago market and in the Midwest with improved distribution, enhanced product quality, increased presence on the shelf and a more aggressive marketing campaign. In addition, the acquisition allowed Snyder’s of Hanover to build its brand and established a stronger market presence in retail stores.

The pending Utz acquisition, however, is significantly different than that of Jays Foods. While Jays was battling with financial problems, Utz is one of the industry’s strongest regional snack producers and has been highly innovative in the market. Putting the two companies together could establish a regional powerhouse in the salted snack market.

Both parties plan to close the transaction as soon as possible following FTC clearance and expect to do so by the end of the year.