Hershey acquisition sets the stage for wider One Brands distribution, more diverse product line

BOULDER — The $397 million takeover of nutrition bar maker One Brands LLC by The Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) provides an opportunity for the Boulder-based firm to develop new products and reach consumers in additional retail outlets.

One Brands, which manufactures One Bar protein snacks, began merger conversations with several large food conglomerates about a year ago.

“As we got to know the Hershey people, their culture and what they were looking to do with our company, [acquisition negotiations] really began to progress,” One Brands CEO Peter Burns told BizWest. “We stayed in contact and it just got to the point where it made sense for both companies to come together.”

The deal was announced in late August and closed last week.

Bringing One Brands into the fold allows Hershey to expand its snack offerings and its “better-for-you brand portfolio,” which currently includes the Oatmega product line. Oatmega was absorbed as part of Hershey’s 2018 acquisition of Amplify Snack Brands Inc.

Hershey’s resources will help One Brand widen its scope of products to potentially include confections and beverages, Burns said.

“With Hershey’s research and development history and track record of creating sustainable brands, we feel like this is a good place for us to be,” he said. 

In addition to helping One Brands develop new product lines, the Hershey partnership allows One Brands to tap into the candy giant’s sales and distribution networks. Burns said he hopes to expand One Brand’s presence in convenience stores and club stores such as Costco. 

One Brands, which has administrative offices in Boulder and Charlotte, was founded in 1999 by Ron McAfee. The company, which was rebranded in 2017 when Burns was brought on board, was formerly called Oh Yeah! Nutrition.

The Hershey acquisition is not expected to have any immediate impact on existing operations in Colorado and North Carolina. 

“There will be no changes for the foreseeable future,” Burns said. “[Hershey] realizes that we have a great company that’s growing — nobody wants to mess that up.”

One Brand’s products will continue to be marketed under its existing branding rather than being folded into an existing Hershey’s product line. 

“We are a separate brand platform,” Burns said. “We are going to continue to make our products the way we make, sell it we sell it, market it like we market it.”

Burns is no stranger to leading a local company through an acquisition by a major player in the food business He was formerly the president and CEO of Boulder-based Justin’s Nut Butter LLC when the firm was acquired by Hormel Foods Corp. in 2016.

“Previous experience obviously helps, but you have to have certain things that are constant if you’re going to make these deals work,” he said. “You have to have a great founder, you have to be a great brand that tastes good and you have to have a great team. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with amazing people in several different companies. I get to conduct the orchestra, but the employees are the real stars.”

The Hershey deal opens the door for One Brand employees to spread their wings professionally and creatively.

“We’re working with one of the best consumer packaged goods companies in the world, so the opportunities for folks to do more, move into different areas and learn different things is incredibly exciting for everybody,” Burns said. “We’re thrilled about the future and about where the company can go.”

BOULDER — The $397 million takeover of nutrition bar maker One Brands LLC by The Hershey Co. (NYSE:HSY) provides an opportunity for the Boulder-based firm to develop new products and reach consumers in additional retail outlets.

One Brands, which manufactures One Bar protein snacks, began merger conversations with several large food conglomerates about a year ago.

“As we got to know the Hershey people, their culture and what they were looking to do with our company, [acquisition negotiations] really began to progress,” One Brands CEO Peter Burns told BizWest. “We stayed in contact and it just got to the point where it made sense for both companies to come together.”

The deal was announced in late August and closed last week.

Bringing One Brands into the fold allows Hershey to expand its snack offerings and its “better-for-you brand portfolio,” which currently includes the Oatmega product line. Oatmega was absorbed as part of Hershey’s 2018 acquisition of Amplify Snack Brands Inc.

Hershey’s resources will help One Brand widen its scope of products to potentially include confections and beverages, Burns said.

“With Hershey’s research and development history and track record of creating sustainable brands, we feel like this is a good place for us to be,” he said. 

In addition to helping One Brands develop new product lines, the Hershey partnership allows One Brands to tap into the candy giant’s sales and distribution networks. Burns said he hopes to expand One Brand’s presence in convenience stores and club stores such as…