Texas-based equity firm acquires Pretzels Inc.

Bluffton-based Pretzels Inc. has been sold to Peak Rock Capital.

Peak Rock, which describes itself as a “leading middle-market private equity firm,” announced the acquisition in a news release dated Oct. 24.

It is the third food-related acquisition for Peak Rock, following its announced purchases of pizza crust manufacturer TNT Crust from Tyson Foods on Sept. 4 and Louisiana Fish Fry Products Ltd., a manufacturer and supplier of Louisiana-inspired food products, on Oct. 9.

Peak Rock is based in Austin, Texas, and also has an office in Belgium.

Pretzels Inc. has operations in Bluffton and in Plymouth. It produces pretzels and extruded snack products. In its most recent tax abatement filings with the Bluffton clerk-treasurer’s office, the company said it had 298 employees and a payroll that exceeded $14.5 million.

The amount of the purchase was not announced.

No changes in Pretzels Inc.’s day-to-day operations were announced. Peak Rock indicated that the current management team could remain in place.

“Our investment in Pretzels reinforces Peak Rock’s focus on investing in industry-leading food and beverage businesses that are positioned to capitalize on near-term growth opportunities,” Robert Strauss, the managing director of Peak Rock, said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with the company’s talented management team and the Huggins and Mann families to grow this snack platform through product innovation, investments in the company’s capabilities and add-on acquisitions.”

Chip Mann, CEO of Pretzels Inc., also indicated that cooperation would be the order of the day.
“Over the past 40 years, the Huggins and Mann families have worked tirelessly to grow Pretzels into an industry-leading supplier serving premier brands and leading retailers,” Mann said. “We are excited to partner with Peak Rock and draw on the firm’s demonstrated expertise in growing businesses through expanded capabilities and investments in product development, which will allow us to further serve our customers.”

In addition to Pretzels Inc., Louisiana Fish Fry, and TNT Crust, Peak Rock also owns these food producers:

• Sweet Harvest Foods, a producer and distributor of honey;

• Berner Food & Beverage, a manufacturer of dairy-based shelf-stable snacks and beverages;

• Diamond Crystal Brands, a manufacturer and distributor of portion control and single-serve food and beverage products; and

• Gold Coast Bakeries, a manufacturer of specialty and organic breads, buns, and rolls.

Story by Dave Shultz, Courtesy of the News-Banner

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