Leaf Brands, Newport Coast, Calif., maker of Hydrox sandwich cookies and owner of a half-dozen legacy candy brands, is said to be among the potential buyers vying for Switzerland-based Nestle's U.S. candy business, according to the Orange County Business Journal. In June, Nestle said it was “exploring strategic options” for its nearly $1-billion U.S. confectionery business, including a possible sale. The company said it would conduct a strategic review of the U.S. market this year.
Posting $922 million in annual sales last year, the Swiss powerhouse's U.S. confectionery business includes chocolate brands such as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, 100 Grand, SkinnyCow, Raisinets, Chunky, OhHenry! and SnoCaps, as well as brands such as SweeTarts, LaffyTaffy, Nerds, FunDip, PixyStix, Gobstopper, BottleCaps, Spree and Runts. It also includes the international chocolate brand Crunch.
Leaf's main product is its Hydrox sandwich cookies, along with two former Nestlé products, Wacky Wafers and Tart ‘n Tinys. Leaf CEO Ellia Kassoff said forthcoming and relaunched products, along with a big marketing push, are expected to quadruple the company's sales in 2018.
Leaf is one of several bidders for Nestle's U.S. candy business, reports say. Nestlé announced earlier this summer the sale wouldn't include its well-known Toll House baking products.