Hershey Seeking More Pirate's Booty in Industry Consolidation

(Bloomberg) -- As the packaged-food industry undergoes a wave of acquisitions, Hershey Co. is on the lookout for loot.

The chocolate maker, which on Wednesday announced the purchase of brands including Pirate’s Booty and Smart Puffs from B&G Foods Inc. for $420 million, wants to target a younger demographic and expand its presence in salty snacks, Chief Executive Officer Michele Buck said in an interview. The company is looking at high-margin businesses with room for profitable growth, and Pirate’s Booty is a good example of this, she said.

“It is a market leader for consumers that are seeking better-for-you snacks. It has scale, it’s sizable at $90 million,” she said, referencing the brand’s annual sales. “It has very strong gross margins.”

Hershey also wants to offload products that don’t fit the desired profile. Buck pointed to Hershey’s sale of Tyrrells potato chips earlier this year. The chocolate maker had acquired Tyrrells last year as part of its $921 million purchase of Amplify Snack Brands Inc.

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