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Report: Utz in $1 billion merger talks

Utz Quality Food's Carlisle Street facility in Hanover Thursday, May 14, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Hanover-based snack food company Utz Quality Foods is in merger talks with a "blank-check" company for a deal worth more than $1 billion, a business news outlet reported.

The company, Collier Creek Holdings, was started by former Blackstone Group Inc. executives and is expected to reach a deal with Utz as soon as this month if negotiations don’t fall through, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

New York-based Collier would acquire Utz — known for its varieties of potato chips, cheese balls and pretzels — for a value of more than $1 billion, including debt.

Those sources, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn't public, say talks began before the coronavirus pandemic.

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Utz Quality Food's High Street facility Thursday, May 14, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

"Notably, Utz Quality Foods doesn’t comment on speculation regarding (mergers and acquisitions)," said the company's senior vice president of marketing, Kevin Brick, when reached via email Thursday.

Executives for Collier could not be reached for comment. 

This would not be the first merger for Utz, which acquired Illinois-based snack company Kitchen Cooked this January, including its brand, direct store delivery operations and its manufacturing operations.

Utz also entered into a merger agreement with Arizona-based Inventure Foods in 2017, which allowed Utz to sell its brands, including TGI Fridays and Nathan's Famous.

More:Utz expands snack biz with Nathan's Famous, TGI Fridays

Collier Creek's founders include Roger Deromedi, a former executive at Pinnacle Foods, which manufactures and markets branded products such as Birds Eye, Duncan Hines, Vlasic, Wishbone and Aunt Jemima, the company website states.

Utz Quality Food's High Street facility in Hanover Thursday, May 14, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Founder Jason Giordano also served on the board of directors for Pinnacle.

Giordano and founder Chinh Chu also served in management positions at Blackstone, an acquisition company that bought Pinnacle in 2007.