Global investment firm Apax Partners has reportedly struck a deal to buy Bazooka Candy Brands at around £548 million
Bazooka Candy Brands has been owned since 2007 by Tornante, the private investment firm of former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and by private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners.
The confectioner, headquartered in New York, sells brands including Ring Pop lollipops, Mega Mouth candy spray and the bubble gum brand Juicy Drop.
According to reports citing an insider, Bazooka’s namesake product, Bazooka Bubble Gum, only accounts for around 2 per cent 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 per cent 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,” implying this could be the first of several M&As made by Apax in the confectionery market.
Bazooka Candy Brands was originally founded as Topps Chewing Gum, and in its early years produced a popular penny ‘Topps Gum’ from a factory in Brooklyn. After World War II, the company developed Bazooka Bubble Gum. In the following decades, it added a number of sugar bonfectionery brands to its range of what it calls “edible entertainment”- candies with interactive packaging and multiple flavours.
The Bazooka Companies was acquired in October 2007 by Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity group, and Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney, and is headquartered in New York City. In 2020, following the sale of the Topps Trading cards business, the Bazooka Candy Group of companies became a stand alone business selling and marketing a range of brands of sugar confectionery.
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.
According to GlobalData, Bazooka gum accounted for 0.7 per cent of volume sales in the US chewing gum market in 2021. The leading brand was the Mars-owned Extra with 15 per cent of sales volumes.