Michael Eisner, former Disney CEO and owner of Bazooka, has agreed to sell the company to private equity firm Apax Partners for $700 million, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Eisner’s private investment firm Tornante – and private equity group Madison Dearborn Partners – acquired the confectionery company, and its now-separated trading card arm Topps, for $385 million in 2007.
In 2021, Madison Dearborn and Tornante agreed to take the company via SPAC at a $1.3 billion valuation, at which point it still included the Topps trading cards business. The deal was killed when Topps lost its exclusive licensing deal with Major League Baseball to Fanatics.
A year later, the firms sold off Topps to Fanatics for $500 million while holding onto the confectionery business, which is now going for $700 million, including debt.
The WSJ first reported on the potential sale in June this year.
According to this week’s report, a source familiar with Apax said that Bazooka’s namesake product, Bazooka Bubble Gum, only accounts for around 2% of annual sales, with the bulk coming from brands like Ring Pop, Juicy Drop and Push Pop.
The source added that the US-based confectioner’s revenue is up “around 30% year-over-year in 2023,” due to distribution wins, and that non-chocolate confectionery industry fragmentation could turn Bazooka into “something of an acquisition platform,” meaning this could be the first of several M&As made by Apax in the confectionery market.
Apax Partners holds a number of other consumer brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Rue 21 and Ole Smoky Distillery; Bazooka is its first play into the non-chocolate confectionery industry.
FoodBev approached Apax Partners who refused to comment on the deal.
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