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Metropoulos invests in US snack maker Utz Quality Foods

Published 20 October 2016

Private-equity firm Metropoulos has made significant investment in the US-based independent salty snack company Utz Quality Foods.

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

But a report by The Wall Street Journal said that Metropoulos, an investment firm specializing in iconic American brands and assets, is investing over $146m in the 95-year-old snack company.

Utz is expected to generate nearly $800m in combined sales in 2017. Recently, it acquired Golden Enterprises, a producer of snacks under the popular Golden Flake brand in the southern US.

The company has also made several key acquisitions over the past five years to expand its brand portfolio, distribution network and geographic footprint.

Its acquisitions include Good Health, Bachman, Zapp's, "Dirty", Snikiddy and Wachusett.

Utz president and CEO Dylan Lissette said: “As we got to know the Metropoulos team and talked with many who have worked with them previously, it became clear they were not your typical investment firm. 

“In addition to being a true family-owned firm, their expertise in operations, brand expansion, innovation, growth and acquisition integration, combined with shared family values and a passion for heritage brands, made this opportunity very unique.”

Metropoulos’ investment is the largest initial private equity transaction for Utz since 2013. The private equity firm also financed Utz's acquisition of Golden Flake.

Over the past thirty years, the firm has invested in nearly 80 entities, including Hostess Brands, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Ghirardelli, Perrier-Jouet/Mumm, Chef Boyardee, Hungry Man, Bumble Bee, Vlasic, Gulden's, Duncan Hines, and Aunt Jemima.

Metropoulos principal Daren Metropoulos said: “We look forward to working closely with Utz's management team to develop creative product innovation, capture new consumers and generations of snackers with strategic guerrilla marketing and branding, and to broaden Utz distribution nationally, while enhancing overall operations and focusing on future strategic acquisitions.”

Image: Utz Quality Foods & Metropoulos form strategic partnership. Photo courtesy of Metropoulos & Co.