US – Utz Brands, a large snack food company based in Hanover, Pennsylvania, is acquiring assets related to Chicago snack brand Vitner’s from Snak-King for US$25 million.

Founded in 1926, Vitner’s has about 55 direct-store-delivery (DSD) distribution routes with most of its snack products being made by Snak-King.

According to a press release from the snack maker, the deal, which is expected to close in February, includes the Vitner’s trademark and DSD distribution of Vitner’s branded products.

Utz said in the release that the distribution routes acquired in this deal will help to grow its brands in the grocery, drug and street channels in the Midwest.

Utz, which produces more than 3 million pounds of snacks per week, has long used acquisitions for growth.

This is however, the third acquisition from Utz since it was acquired by blank check company Collier Creek Holdings and went public on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

Ever since Utz went public on the New York Stock Exchange, the company has accelerated its mission to grow its snacking empire through M&A. 

In September, Utz announced it was buying the H.K. Anderson peanut butter-filled pretzel brand from Conagra Brands for less than US$10 million.

Two months later, Utz said it was purchasing Truco Enterprises, manufacturer of On The Border tortilla chips, salsa and queso, for US$480 million.

The snack company has also started the year with acquisition it is not showing signs of slowing that pace down in the new year.

Utz is strategic about its purchases and this latest deal aims to expand the company geographically.

 The Chicago market is the fourth-largest salty snack market in the country with about US$688 million in annual retail sales, according to IRI data cited by Utz.

The market is also growing rapidly and is reported to have expanded by roughly 9% in the 52 weeks ending Nov. 29.

The company said in the release that the Vitner’s acquisition will move Utz from the No. 7 spot to the No. 4 ranking among salty snacks in Chicago.

“This strategic acquisition will make Utz a more significant competitor in the Chicago area,” said Dylan Lissette, CEO of Utz.

“Combined with our recently announced acquisition of the On the Border tortilla chip, salsa and queso brand, we create a strong brand platform to better serve the primary salty snack channels and continue to expand rapidly in this important growth market,” Lissette added.

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