Ferrero International to buy US chocolate confectionery maker Fannie May

Italian chocolate and confectionery maker Ferrero International SA yesterday struck a deal to buy US chocolate confectioner Fannie May for an undisclosed sum.

Ferrero said that it will also enter into a strategic commercial partnership l for selected Ferrero and Fannie May products in 1-800-Flowers gift baskets, towers and on e-commerce sites.

Post closing, Fannie May will operate as a standalone entity and brand within the Ferrero Group and continue to run by Fannie May's current management team.

Ferrero plans to maintain Fannie May's plant in Ohio, as well as its distribution centres in Ohio and Illinois. Ferrero will continue to operate the network of Fannie May retail stores, and said that it will grow the network over time.

''Fannie May represents a strong strategic and cultural fit for Ferrero and we are happy that Fannie May's talented people, premium brand and quality products will become part of the Ferrero Group,'' said Giovanni Ferrero, CEO of the Ferrero Group.

''The US is an important growth market for Ferrero and we are excited about the opportunity to support and grow a great American brand as we continue to expand our presence in the US,'' he added.

Founded in 1920 in Chicago, Illinois, by Teller Archibald, Fannie May is a manufacturer of premium chocolates and confections.

Over nearly 100 years, the company has grown into one of the best-known premium confectionery brands in the Midwestern US.

Currently owned by 1-800-Flowers, a multi-brand provider of gourmet and floral gifts, Fannie May's primary distribution channels include online 1-800-Flowers.com's e-commerce platform – telephone, QVC home shopping channel, a network of 80 retail stores operated by Fannie May, conventional retail, and private label / contract manufacturing activities.

The company operates a production facility in Ohio and distribution centers in Ohio and Illinois, and employs 750 people.

Founded in 1946, Ferrero is the world's third-largest chocolate confectionery manufacturer, with global sales expected to over $11 billion this year.

It has distribution centres in over 160 countries, and a workforce of more than 30,000 people across 53 countries.

Ferrero entered the US in 1969 with Tic Tac breath mints, which have become an icon in the US breath mint market. The company subsequently introduced Ferrero Rocher pralines and Nutella hazelnut spread.