Highlander Partners, a private investment firm in Dallas, has formed Bettera Brands LLC, a new holding company headquartered in San Francisco, with a “buy and build” strategy in the confection and snack industry.
With the formation of Bettera, Highlander Partners acquired Gimbal Brothers, a leading manufacturer of gourmet jelly beans and gummy vitamins. Gimbal’s owners have joined the Bettera company and will continue to support the Gimbal’s brand.
Estle Kominowski, former COO of Gimbal's and newly-appointed CEO of Bettera Brands, commented, “The combined product offering will enhance the company's success in further penetrating current customers while adding new ones and positions the company for exceptional performance in the future."
Highland Partners also contributed its portfolio company, Hillside Candy, into Bettera, including its GoOrganic, GoLightly, Hillside Candy and Pick Your Color brands. Its product line ranges from organic and sugar-free hard and chewy confections, licorice and traditional hard candy.
Bettera will target acquiring companies with excellent brand equity and focus on creating value through customer cross-pollination, geographic expansion and new product development. Bettera’s principals, with more than 30 transactions in the food, confection and snack categories, will pursue stand-alone businesses and carve-outs from larger companies while Highland Partners, which holds a majority share, will manage its proprietary capital and has more than $1.2 billion in capital dedicated to private equity investments.
"Highlander's forte is a 'buy and build' strategy in fragmented industries, which we have executed successfully in several categories. Establishing Bettera Brands in conjunction with our acquisition of Gimbal's shortly after we acquired Hillside will provide a launchpad for additional transactions. This is just the beginning of our long-term vision. We have a robust pipeline of acquisition opportunities that will complement Bettera's offerings and enhance the Company's position in the market,” said Jeff Hull, the newly-appointed chairman of Bettera and president of Highlander.