- Family-owned Russell Stover Candies Inc., best known for boxed chocolates purchased on Valentine's Day, may be up for sale. The Kansas City company, which also owns the Whitman brand, ranks as the third largest candy producer in the USA. .
Goldman Sachs has begun shopping the company with a price that could top $1 billion.
- Russell Stover has about $600 million in annual sales at 37 company stores and over 70,000 retail distributors in the US and Canada..
A spokesman for the company declared, “There is no imminent sale.” However, the fact that a firm like Goldman Sachs has been enlisted to shop around for the company has people speculating over potential buyers. The two most obvious suspects would be the candy giants that currently hold first and second place — Hershey and Mars. Other possible buyers include Mondelēz International, which owns Cadbury, and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the Omaha-based owner of See’s Candies.
If Russell Stover is devoured by a larger company, it is very possible that its operations will move to wherever the parent company dictates. If the company already owns its own factories, it would make sense for it to consolidate whatever it can to get the most out of economies of scale for greater efficiency and profitability. Then what represents a sweet deal for the owners may leave a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of the company’s employees, who currently work in Kansas, Colorado, and Texas.