Freeths Advises Zertus on Acquisition of Sun Valley

Freeths corporate team has advised its client, Zertus UK on the acquisition of The Sun Valley Nut Company “Sun Valley” from the Hacking family, who founded the business in 1949, led by James Hacking.

The acquisition positions Zertus at the forefront of the snacking and confectionery industry, by building on its already substantial portfolio of customer branded ranges for the UK’s leading retailers. The acquisition complements its successful brand portfolio including: NOMO, the UK’s number one free-from chocolate brand; Baileys Chocolates, premium chocolates in partnership with Diageo; The Fruit Factory, kids snacking brand; and Forest of Hope, the recently launched kids fair trade chocolate brand; and Kinnerton Confectionery and Lir Chocolates.

Sun Valley is a supplier of high-quality peanut and nut based snacking products through the private label, food service and food ingredients channels. Sun Valley supply nuts, peanut butters and crisps under its own ‘The Sun Valley Nut Co’ and ‘Nuts For’ brands, which compliments the capabilities and expertise within the existing Zertus Snacking and Chocolate Market Unit.

This acquisition has been led by Paul Tripp, CEO Zertus UK & Ireland, who has recently also joined the international Zertus GmBH Management Board as Managing Director. He commented: “This is a strong acquisition for Zertus in the UK and one that complements our existing businesses in the healthier snacking sector. It will allow us to leverage our combined innovation and operational competencies to drive growth through exciting new products while enabling us to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations”.

James Cowell, who led the Freeths Corporate team advising Zertus on the acquisition, remarked “We’re delighted to have advised Zertus on this strategic acquisition and wish it every success in developing the business within its wider group. We’ve enjoyed working with Paul and his other advisers in delivering a successful transaction and wish the sellers well in the future”.

Jim Hacking, Chairman Sun Valley Nut Company, says: “We believe that in Zertus we have found the right long-term owner for the business. We’re confident that Zertus can make the necessary investments needed to take the business to the next level whilst preserving the heritage of the Sun Valley business we have lovingly built over the last 72 years”.

Sun Valley has three well invested operational facilities spread across two sites based in Bromborough, Wirral, which Zertus will take over operations for, with production of Sun Valley to continue on-site.

Zertus were advised by MDBAS (Corporate Finance and lead advisor), led by Mark Devine, PWC (Financial Due Diligence), led by Joel Smith supported by Ben Ferguson, Freeth’s (Legal), led by James Cowell and Emily Settle, and LEK (Commercial Due Diligence), led by Dominic Miles. Sun Valley were advised by Hurst Corporate Finance (Corporate Finance, Tax & lead advisor), led by Ben Bradley supported by James Thompson, and DAC Beachcroft (Legal), led by Paul Ellaby supported by Max Ankers.