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Utz’s recent $135 million acquisition of Golden Enterprises (NASDAQ: GLDC), the Alabama producer of snacks under the popular Golden Flake brand, is the largest initial private equity transaction for a U.S. snack company since 2013, when Metropoulos and Apollo Global Management (NYSE: APO) invested in Hostess Brands. The move comes after Gores Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ CM: GRSHU, GRSH, GRSHW), a special purpose acquisition or ‘blank check’ company sponsored by private equity firm The Gores Group LLC, agreed to acquire Hostess Brands from HB Holdings LLC, which is owned by Apollo and Metropoulos and Co., in a reverse merger deal valued at $2.3 billion, as reported by ExitHub in early July. Over the past five years, Utz has made several other key acquisitions, broadening its brand portfolio to include Good Health, Bachman, Zapp’s, “Dirty”, Snikiddy and Wachusett and expanding its distribution and geographic footprint. Based in Hanover, Pennsylvania, Utz operates 11 facilities located in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Alabama and Florida. The Rice family, which has owned and operated Utz for four generations, continues to be 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,” said Dylan Lissette, president & CEO of Utz. “For the past 95+ years, Utz has not only defied the odds as a successful family-owned business, 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. “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,” he added. “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. We are excited to continue to lead this company forward, working closely with our new partners as we enter this new chapter of Utz expansion, reinvestment and growth.” “Under the family’s strong stewardship, Utz has quietly grown into a snack powerhouse, expanding its product portfolio and geographic reach, while remaining true to its core beliefs and storied history,” said Evan Metropoulos, principal of Metropoulos & Co. “Our family is excited to be a part of Utz’s future and feel grateful for the partnership with the Rice & Lissette family,” added Daren Metropoulos, principal at Metropoulos & Co. “We believe the strength and rich heritage of the Utz family and management team, combined with the expertise of the Metropoulos team, will further elevate this company’s leadership in the salty snack category,” said Anand Gowda, president and managing partner of Metropoulos & Co., who heads the firm’s private equity team with Cary Devore and Patrick Cook. Metropoulos & Co., founded in 1993 and headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, is well-known for its past investments in Pabst Blue Ribbon, Ghirardelli Chocolates, Bumble Bee Foods, Vlasic Pickles, Chef Boyardee and Perrier-Jouet/Mumm, among many others.]]>