BBX Capital continues premium choc spending spree with Jer’s buy

BBX snaps up Jer's Chocolates for undisclosed sum

Investment firm BBX Capital has snapped up another US premium chocolate company - Californian-based Jer’s Chocolates - and is on the look out for more buys, its president says.

The latest deal follows the acquisitions of Hoffman’s Chocolates in December 2013 and Williams & Bennett in January 2014.

“Right now we are acquiring good brands with good following and now we are coast to coast,” Jarett Levan, president of BBX Capital told ConfectioneryNews.

On the hunt for more

The BBX head added that his company would continue to search for other US premium chocolate firms to give its customers a greater choice of brands.

“We will probably do a few more this year and then take a break,” he said. “Our model is very simple: We acquire legendary brands and we pattern with good people.”

Levan said that a big driver behind the Jer’s Chocolate buy was bringing the Californian company’s founder and CEO Jerry Swain on board to increase BBX’s confectionery expertise.

Separate brands

All of BBX’s acquisitions fallsunder its BBX Sweet Holdings subsidiary, but it intends to keep the brands separate.

“The goal is to maintain separate brands because they are well known within their space. But we will also take advantage of synergies in distribution and production,” said Levan.

Jer’s outsources production to a firm based in Los Angeles and Levan confirmed the deal would continue.

BBX has 45,000 sq ft of production space across two factories in South Florida through the William’s & Bennett and Hoffman’s businesses.

US focus

“The main priority for now is the US market. The US and Canada we see as a real opportunity," said the BBX chief. "Jer’s opens up for us Californian distribution and international opportunities." As well as the US, Jer’s has distribution in Canada, Mexico and the UK.

Jer’s Chocolates was founded in 2001 and now employs under 50 people. It specialises in premium peanut butter chocolate products. BBX refused disclose the acquisition fee or the sales strength of its latest acquisition.

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