After sweet deals, Brynwood chews on new fund

Brynwood Partners has taken another step toward building a chocolate-coated-candy empire following its acquisition earlier this month of the Turtles brand from food and beverage conglomerate Nestle USA. The firm is also moving closer to raising Fund VI, since the predecessor is now 80% deployed.

In a transaction that closed on June 1, Greenwich, Conn.-based Brynwood bought the U.S. rights to the century-old Turtles brand, as well as a Turtles factory in Toronto from Nestle Canada. Brynwood Managing Partner Hendrik Hartong said that the combined value of the investments comes “close to one of the biggest deals we’ve ever done.” Enterprise values for Brynwood transactions typically fall between $15 million and $125 million.

The Turtles deal is Brynwood’s second acquisition from Nestle, having earlier acquired the Flipz brand of chocolate-coated pretzels in 2003. Brynwood snapped up the Turtles brand through a newly formed holding company called DeMet’s Candy Co.

The DeMet’s deal resides in Brynwood Partners V, which closed in 2004 with $250 million in commitments. With the Turtles deal, the fund is about 80% invested and is steward to seven platform companies, Hartong said.

Fund-raising for Fund VI will likely begin in early to mid-2008, Hartong said. In the meantime, the firm could possibly make one more platform investment through Fund V or use the remainder of its capital for support and add-ons to existing companies. —Ari Nathanson