Ferrero acquires US chocolate group Fannie May
Ferrero International has entered into an agreement to acquire premium US chocolate maker Fannie May Confections Brands in a deal that the Italian chocolate group said would increase its product line-up in the market.
Fannie May, which produces chocolate under the Fannie May and Harry London brands, was founded in 1920 in Chicago.
Ferrero revealed that it will also enter into a strategic partnership with Fannie May's current owner, 1-800-Flowers.com, that will see selected Ferrero and Fannie May products included in the 1-800-Flowers gifting collections and e-commerce sites.
Fannie May's existing distribution channels include leveraging 1-800-Flowers.com's e-commerce platform as well as telephone, QVC home shopping channel. The group also operates a network of 80 retail stores and is available through conventional retail. Additionally, the company undertakes private label and contract manufacturing activities.
Fannie May operates a production facility in Ohio and distribution centres in Ohio and Illinois. The group employs 750 full time staff. Following the transaction, Ferrero indicated it plans to keep these facilities open and retain Fannie May's existing management staff.
"Fannie May represents a strong strategic and cultural fit for Ferrero and we are happy that Fannie May's talented people, premium brand and quality products will become part of the Ferrero Group," Giovanni Ferrero, CEO of the Ferrero Group, said.
"The US is an important growth market for Ferrero and we are excited about the opportunity to support and grow a great American brand as we continue to expand our presence in the US."
Ferrero North America CEO, Paul Chibe, added that Fannie May offers a "valuable manufacturing, distribution and retail network" for Ferrero in the US.
Looking to the future, he continued: "We plan to build on the Fannie May organisation to support the growth of the Fannie May and Harry London brands. We are confident there are significant opportunities to enhance Fannie May's growth, leveraging Ferrero's capabilities to sell new products through a substantially larger base of channels."
Ferrero said that it plans to grow Fannie May's stores network.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close by the end of May.