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Chocolate company the Lindt & Sprüngli Group has struck a deal to acquire Russell Stover Candies Inc., based in Kansas City, Mo.
The deal, according to a company statement, is the “biggest and most important strategic acquisition in the company’s history,” and will make Lindt & Sprüngli the third-largest chocolate company in North America.
The acquisition includes two long-standing American candy brands: Russell Stover and Whitman’s. Russell Stover was founded in 1923 in Denver and became known for its gift pralines. In 1993, the company acquired Whitman’s, which was founded in 1842. The Russell Stover Group rings up annual sales of around $500 million. The company employs about 2,700 people and has four chocolate factories and 35 retail candy stores, most of which are located in the central United States.
Lindt & Sprüngli plans to maintain the four factories and keep Russell Stover’s corporate offices in Kansas City.
The terms of the acquisition, including price, have not been disclosed. The unified company is expected to have more than $1.5 billion in sales.