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Metropoulos & Co. To Invest In Utz Quality Foods

Posted On: 10/21/2016

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TAGS: Metropoulos & Co., Utz Quality Foods Inc., Utz investment, Utz acquisition, potato chips, pretzels, cheese snacks, Dylan Lissette, vending machine snacks, Golden Enterprises

Private-equity firm is investing more than $146 million in 95-year-old, family-owned snack company

HANOVER, PA -- The private-equity firm that brought back Hostess is investing more than $146 million in a 95-year-old, family-owned snack company here. Metropoulos & Co., which brought Hostess Brands out of liquidation three years ago, is the first outside investor in Utz Quality Foods Inc., which manufactures potato chips, pretzels and cheese snacks.

Utz, which forecasts sales of $800 million next year, is the largest family-owned and run salty snack maker in the U.S. Members of the Rice family, which has owned and operated the business for four generations, are the controlling and majority shareholders.

"Nearly a century ago, the Utz company was born in a small town kitchen by an entrepreneurial couple, Bill and Salie Utz, who created a fast-growing business making fresh potato chips for local markets with an intense focus on premier quality products," recalled Utz chief executive Dylan Lissette. "For the past 95+ years, Utz has not only defied the odds as a successful family-owned business, but we have thrived by continuously reinvesting in our company, expanding our offerings and reach through key acquisitions, and never deviating from our core values and our commitment to our people and our high-quality products."

Lissette said the Hanover, PA, snack company will use the new investment to fund its recent acquisition of Alabama-based chip and popcorn maker Golden Enterprises.

The Wall Street Journal reported that mergers, acquisitions and investments in the food industry are, so far, up almost 9% this year. The reason, according to the paper, is that big food makers are looking to expand into brands that are perceived to be fresher and more natural. | SEE STORY