Hanover, Pennsylvania-based Utz Brands, a manufacturer of branded salty snacks, says that its subsidiary Utz Quality Foods has entered into a definitive agreement with Snak-King Corp. to acquire certain assets related to the Vitner’s brand. Vitner’s is a brand of snack foods in the Chicago metropolitan market. The total purchase price is $25 million, subject to customary purchase price adjustments.
The acquired assets include intellectual property, including the Vitner’s trademark and direct-store-delivery distribution assets related to Vitner’s branded products. The transaction represents an acquisition multiple of approximately 5.9x last 12 months ended Sept. 27, 2020. Vitner’s Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA of $3.4 million assumes approximately $5 million in net present value from expected tax assets resulting from the transaction. Utz expects the transaction to be accretive to earnings in 2021 and beyond. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close on Feb. 8.
Vitner’s, established in 1926, is an iconic brand in the Chicago area and its approximately 55 DSD routes will provide Utz a strengthened foothold in Chicago and the Midwest from which to further grow the presence of its power brands, which include Utz, On The Border, Zapp’s, Golden Flake, Good Health, Boulder Canyon, Hawaiian Brand and Tortiyahs!
Following the acquisition, Vitner’s potato chips, cheese snacks, corn snacks and popcorn will move Utz from the No. 7 position to the No. 4 position among salty snacks in the Chicago market, the fourth largest salty snack market in the U.S. at approximately $688 million in annual retail sales for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 29, 2020, according to IRI.
Most of Vitner’s products are currently manufactured by Snak King, but Utz plans to transition manufacturing of most of those products to its own manufacturing plants after closing, further increasing utilization of Utz’s manufacturing network.
“This strategic acquisition will make Utz a more significant competitor in the Chicago area. Combined with our recently announced acquisition of the On the Border tortilla chip, salsa and queso brand, we create a strong brand platform to better serve the primary salty snack channels and continue to expand rapidly in this important growth market. This transaction is a continuation of our strategy to successfully build long-term value and share by expanding in major metropolitan areas, like we did in New York City in 1994, Boston in 2004, Pittsburgh in 2006 and Atlanta in 2011,” said Dylan Lissette, CEO of Utz. “This acquisition strengthens our competitive position and will be a spark for continued growth in the Midwest. We are confident this transaction will drive long-term value creation for our shareholders and help position Utz for continued long-term growth.”
“We are thrilled to see the Vitner’s brand, established almost 95 years ago, become part of the Utz Brands Inc. platform,” said Barry Levin, CEO of Snak King. “Utz will be able to leverage its world-class family of brands and expertise in DSD operations to help Vitner’s continue to serve the Chicago market.”
Vitner’s 55 DSD routes provide an efficient, immediate route to market to further grow Utz’s power brands in the grocery, drug and up-and-down the street channels in the Chicago metropolitan and Northwest Indiana areas.
The addition of Vitner’s potato chips, cheese snacks, corn snacks and popcorn, combined with Utz’s recently-announced acquisition of the On the Border tortilla chip, salsa and queso brand, would improve Utz’s share of the $1 billion retail sales Illinois salty snack market to 4 percent for the last 52 weeks ended Nov. 29, 2020, according to IRI, up five-fold since the end of calendar year 2016. Increasing Utz’s sales in the large and growing Chicago area is an important step to capture the future growth opportunity in the Midwest.
Under the terms of the transaction agreement, Vitner’s assets will be acquired by UQF. The company expects to use cash on its balance sheet to fund the transaction. The transaction does not have a meaningful impact to Utz’s net leverage ratio.