PE-backed Eagle Foods buys kettle corn maker Popcorn Indiana

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Eagle Foods, backed by middle-market private equity firm Kelso & Co., has acquired ready-to-eat (RTE) snack producer Popcorn, Indiana for an undisclosed amount. The target will join private label popcorn manufacturer G.H. Cretors and veggie sticks maker Hi I’m Skinny in Eagle Foods’ snack portfolio.

Headquartered in the same place named after itself, Popcorn, Indiana grows non-GMO and gluten free popcorn. The target packages its popcorn snacks in a variety of flavors, including: cheddar, Chicago fair, Kettlecorn, sweet and salty, caramel and cheese, sea salt, and Black & White Drizzlecorn. Based in a city with a population of 42 individuals, Popcorn, Indiana has also been featured in multiple independent films showcasing the company’s popcorn operations.

"Our acquisition of Popcorn, Indiana soundly demonstrates Eagle Foods' commitment to expanding our product offerings to best meet the needs of our customers and consumers," states Eagle Foods CEO Paul Wagstaff. "The Popcorn, Indiana brand is a strategic addition to our existing selection of RTE popcorn. We are excited to continue to grow the Eagle Brands platform both organically and through strategic acquisitions."

Eagle Foods was established in January 2016 after New York-based PE firm Kelso & Co. acquired the company from The J.M. Smucker Co. The Richfield, Ohio-based company now distributes a variety of consumer food brands, that include: Hi I’m Skinny, PET evaporated milk, Magnolia sweetened milk, Milnot milk, Eagle Brand condensed milk, and G.H. Cretors. The deal for Popcorn, Indiana grows Eagle Foods’ branded and private label product offerings.

The middle market has seen a fair share of deals regarding snack producers, including: Palladium Equity Partners’ purchase of trail mix maker Kar Nut Products Co.; Conagra Brands Inc.’s (NYSE: CAG) addition of meat snacks maker Thanasi Foods LLC for an undisclosed amount; Snyder’s-Lance Inc.’s (Nasdaq: LNCE) selling Diamond of California’s culinary nut line to Blue Road Capital in order to focus on its “better-for-you” snacks; and SkinnyPop owner Amplify Snacks Brands Inc.’s (NYSE: BETR) purchase of potato chips manufacturer Tyrrells for approximately $391 million.

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