Mondelez Sells Snackwell's to Brynwood Partners

Dec. 31, 2013
Nabisco creation goes to joint venture company Back to Nature Foods.

Investment firm Brynwood Partners, through a subsidiary company, has bought the SnackWell's cookies and snacks business from Mondelez Global LLC. Terms and conditions of the transaction were not disclosed.

Back to Nature Foods Co. LLC, a portfolio company of Brynwood Partners VI LP, made the acquisition. Back to Nature was formed in 2012 as a joint venture between Brynwood VI and Mondelez Global "through an innovative structure, whereby Brynwood VI acquired operating control while Mondelez Global retained a minority position in the new company," read a statement. Back to Nature was one of the original natural food brands in the U.S.

SnackWell's was launched by Nabisco Inc. (which Kraft acquired) in 1992 as a line of reduced-fat and fat-free cookies and crackers, and it had huge success with its initial line of devil's food chocolate cookies. Currently, SnackWell's offers creme sandwich cookies, devil's food cakes, fudge pretzels, yogurt pretzels, and popcorn products in portion-control sizes.

"We look forward to owning the SnackWell's brand and integrating it into our Back to Nature organization," said Vincent Fantegrossi, pres/CEO of Back to Nature. "Its healthy attributes, loyal consumer base, and strong distribution make SnackWell's a very complementary product line offering to our Back to Nature products."

Brynwood Partners, based in Greenwich, Conn., says it has a track record of reviving smaller brands or businesses that are divested from large corporations. Some of the firm's current and prior investments include:

  • Turtles chocolate candy and Flipz chocolate-covered pretzels (acquired from Nestle USA, Inc.) which are now made by acquired DeMet's Candy Co.
  • TrueNorth nut-clusters and Kretschmer wheat germ (both acquired from PepsiCo, Inc.).
  • Lightlife meat alternative products (acquired from ConAgra Foods).
  • Balance Bar energy/nutrition bars (acquired from Kraft Foods).

Brynwood VI also owns Pearson Candy Co. But it's in the process of selling DeMet's Candy Co. to Turkey's Yildiz Holdings for $221 million.

Founded in 1984, Brynwood Partners describes itself as an operationally focused private equity fund that makes control investments in North American based lower middle market companies in the consumer sector.

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