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Snyder's-Lance Sheds Diamond’s Culinary Nut Line to Focus on Snacks

Snyderís is hanging onto Diamondís Pop Secret popcorn brand; the move comes as consumer goods companies, including Newell and Prestige, sell off assets to hone in on fast-growing brands

Blue Road Capital has agreed to buy the Diamond of California brand of nuts used in cooking from Snyder’s-Lance Inc. (Nasdaq: LNCE) for undisclosed terms. Snyder’s closed its acquisition of Diamond Foods in February and is retaining the company’s snack brands, including Pop Secret popcorn, as Snyder’s adheres to a growth strategy of focusing on “better-for-you” snack foods.

Diamond of California, based in Stockton, California, produces almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and hazelnuts. The target sells its products in grocery stores and retailers such as Albertson’s and Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR).

“As with most acquisitions, we picked up a business, while attractive, it was not completely aligned with our core business,” said Snyder’s CEO Carl Lee during a conference call. “We’ve been working tirelessly in evaluating all aspects of the business,” Lee added regarding the Diamond Foods acquisition†that closed earlier in 2016. The company is keeping the other brands it received in that deal, including Pop Secret popcorn. Snyder’s is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based snacks company that is known for the Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, Emerald nuts, and Kettle chips brands. Snyder’s did not respond to requests seeking additional comment.†

Blue Road is a New York-based private equity firm that focuses on the agriculture sector. The firm raised a $433 million agriculture fund in 2016. Some of Blue Road’s investments include National Pecan LLC and fruit and vegetable distributor Vangaurd International Group.

Several consumer companies have been realigning their portfolios through M&A to focus on core brands. ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) completed the sale the JM Swank food ingredient distribution business to Platinum Equity. Newell Brands Inc. (NYSE: NWL) is selling Irwin Tools to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (NYSE: SWK), as part of its process to sell at least 10 percent of the company’s portfolio; and Prestige Brands Holdings Inc. (NYSE: PBH) has agreed to sell the Fiber Choice, New Skin and PediaCare brands to Moberg Pharma AB for $40 million in cash.

Wells Fargo Securities LLC (NYSE: WFC) and Troutman Sanders LLP are advising Snyder’s.†

 

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