Jan 27 Chocolate maker Hershey Co is in
late-stage talks to acquire Krave, a maker of healthy beef,
turkey and pork jerky snacks, according to people familiar with
The deal is expected to value Sonoma, California-based Krave
at between $200 million and $300 million, the people said this
week. An announcement could come as soon as this week, they
The sources requested anonymity because the talks are
confidential. Hershey declined to comment, while a Krave
representative did not immediately respond to a request for
Hershey, which is set to announce its fourth-quarter
earnings on Thursday, has been looking at ways to expand its
products outside of its iconic confectionary brands into
portable snacks, according to a source familiar with the
Hershey's most recent acquisition, a majority share of
Chinese candy maker Shanghai Golden Monkey Food Co for $584
million in late 2013, was largely intended to build up the
company's international footprint.
Krave manufactures jerky snacks with flavors such as basil
citrus, lemon garlic, chili lime and sweet chipotle. It sells to
retailers that include Target Corp, Vitamin Shoppe Inc
and Safeway Inc.
Krave was founded in 2010 by Jon Sebastiani, a
fourth-generation winemaker looking for a healthy way to regain
energy while training for the New York City Marathon.
The company received an investment from private equity firm
Alliance Consumer Growth in 2013 for a minority stake.
Consolidation in the so-called better-for-you snacking
category has picked up in the last year as consumers' eating
habits have begun to shift.
Recent deals have included JM Smucker Co's
acquisition of fruits and nuts manufacturer Sahale Snacks in
August and TreeHouse Foods Inc's purchase of trail mix
maker Flagstone Foods in June.
The U.S. snack industry is a $35 billion market, according
to market research firm IBISWorld, with annual growth of around
(Additional reporting by Mike Stone in New York)