Second Nature Brands Remains Local Despite Private Equity Acquisition

Detroit-based natural food conglomerate Second Nature Brands has been acquired by London-based private equity firm CapVest, but the company says that this won't impact its local roots.

Second Nature Brands, maker of Kar's Nuts and Sanders Chocolates, was founded in 1933 by Sue Kar, who sold homemade nuts outside Tiger Stadium. The company then passed to the Nicolay family, where it stayed for 50 years. In 2017, owner Nick Nicolay partnered with private equity for the first time in the company's history, and Palladium Equity Partners bought a majority stake. Now, in 2022, they've brokered a deal with CapVest Partners, who will take over as majority stakeholders. The transaction's terms were not disclosed.

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Vic Mehren, Chief Executive Officer of Second Nature Brands, is expected to remain in his position and says that this is a move in the right direction to accelerate the company's growth. He told consumers in a statement that though the company is expanding with the help of private equity, its roots will remain local.

"Second Nature Brands will continue to be proudly Made In Michigan," he said in a statement. "We will continue to invest in our manufacturing facilities . . . so that Michigan employees can still create the Detroit-born snacks and treats that have become so popular from coast-to-coast."

Second Nature Brands, a 364-employee company, is an amalgamation of Kar's Nuts, Sanders, and Second Nature Snacks, which were all joined under one corporate heading in 2021. Sanders, a Detroit staple founded in 1875, was previously acquired by Kar's Nuts in 2018. All three companies have roots in Michigan and are fixtures in the local economy. After the acquisition, the Kar's headquarters are expected to remain in the Detroit suburb of Madison Heights. Its manufacturing facilities will also remain in Madison Heights and Clinton Township.