Century-Old, St. Paul-Based Pearson Candy Co. Sold

The iconic candy maker was sold for an undisclosed sum, and Michael Keller, former chief marketing officer for International Dairy Queen, will take over as president and CEO.

St. Paul-based Pearson Candy Company, maker of popular confections including Salted Nut Rolls and Nut Goodies, has been sold to a Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity fund.

The fund, Brynwood Partners VI L.P., on Monday announced that it bought Pearson for an undisclosed sum. Pearson was previously owned by Larry Hassler and was founded more than 100 years ago.

Under the terms of the transaction, Michael Keller—former chief marketing officer for International Dairy Queen—will take over as president and CEO.

“Having owned and operated Pearson since 1985, I am confident that I am leaving the company in good hands with Brynwood VI,” Hassler said in a statement. “Given Brynwood Partners' experience in the food space, I am confident that Brynwood VI will have great success in enhancing the value of the organization.”

Minneapolis-based investment banking firm Prestwick Partners represented Hassler in the sale of the company. Learn more about the deal in this Star Tribune article, which states that the new owner intends to maintain Pearson's St. Paul plant, which employs about 170, and use Pearson as a vehicle for future candy acquisitions.