Utz Quality Foods, LLC, a U.S. manufacturer of branded salty snacks, and Collier Creek Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company, have announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine and form Utz Brands, Inc. ("Utz Brands"). Utz Brands will be a leading pure-play snack food platform in the U.S. Upon the closing of the transaction, it is expected that Utz Brands will trade under the ticker symbol "UTZ" on the New York Stock Exchange.
Founded in 1921, Utz has grown to become the largest family-owned salty snack company in the U.S., with more than 40 years of consecutive Adjusted Net Sales growth. The Company's iconic portfolio of authentic, craft, and better-for-you brands includes Utz, Zapp's, Golden Flake, Good Health, and Boulder Canyon, among others. The Company operates 14 manufacturing facilities nationwide with a broad range of capabilities, producing a full line of potato chips, pretzels, cheese snacks, veggie snacks, pork skins, pub / party mix, and other snacks, including innovative better-for-you snacking options. After nearly a century as a family-owned business, this transaction will introduce Utz as a publicly listed company, with an anticipated initial enterprise value of approximately $1.56 billion or 11.6x its estimated 2021 Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA of $134 million.
Collier Creek was co-founded by Chinh Chu, Roger Deromedi and Jason Giordano, who bring more than 80 years of combined investing and operating experience, with a focus on the consumer goods sector. Mr. Deromedi, who had a long and successful tenure as Chairman of Pinnacle Foods and, prior to that, as CEO of Kraft Foods, will become Chairman of Utz Brands. Utz Brands' board of directors will be composed of a majority of independent directors under the applicable listing rules of the New York Stock Exchange.
Dylan Lissette, who has served as Utz's CEO since 2013 and has worked at the Company for almost 25 years, will continue to lead the business along with the existing management team. Utz Brands will remain headquartered in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
Proceeds from the transaction are expected to be used primarily to repay existing borrowings at Utz. The Rice and Lissette family, the founding family and owners of Utz, will retain more than 90 percent of its existing equity stake, which will represent more than 50 percent ownership in Utz Brands upon completion of the transaction.
"As we approach our 100-year anniversary, we are excited to take this important step forward to position Utz for its next century of growth," said Mr. Lissette. "This transaction enables Utz to continue its long-term growth plans and provides greater access to capital to fund organic and inorganic growth. We remain deeply committed to Utz's continued success."
Mr. Lissette continued: "We look forward to partnering with Roger and the seasoned team at Collier Creek as we leverage their experience in driving value creation in food platform companies. As a public company, I am confident that Utz will continue to grow its importance within the salty snack industry, bringing more of our brands to an ever-greater consumer audience across the U.S."
"Utz Brands is a phenomenal business combination that meets all of the criteria we established when we launched Collier Creek," said Mr. Deromedi. "It's a leading platform in the attractive and growing salty snack category, with significant competitive advantages and multiple opportunities to accelerate growth and drive value creation. We are confident that by supporting Dylan and the talented management team with our proven operating playbook, Utz can become the fastest-growing pure-play branded snack platform of scale in the U.S. We look forward to working with the Utz team in the years ahead."
"Our partnership with Utz is consistent with our philosophy of investing in high-quality, durable businesses with compelling growth opportunities," said Mr. Chu. "This transaction delivers significant near-term value to our existing shareholders, and we are fully aligned with the Rice and Lissette family to drive long-term value creation in the future."
Mr. Giordano added: "We look forward to working closely with Utz's management to unlock meaningful value for all stakeholders by investing in innovation and marketing to delight consumers, expanding distribution into new retailers and geographies, broadening the Utz product offering, driving operational efficiencies, and capitalizing on strategic acquisition opportunities that further enhance Utz's unique platform and brand portfolio."