Amplify Snack Brands (formerly SkinnyPop Popcorn) is a platform food company focused on developing and marketing Better-For-You (BFY) snack brands.
With critical help from Bill Christ, Jeff Barber, Jim Hart and TA’s Strategic Resource Group, we moved our headquarters, acquired and built-out a secondary brand, recruited a world-class board of directors and completed an IPO on the NYSE.
TA helped Amplify Snack Brands:
- Recruit a new CEO, CFO, senior advisor and three independent Directors
- Complete a significant infrastructure build-out, including finance, sales, marketing and operations/supply chain teams
- Source and execute three acquisitions
- Close two debt financings
- List the company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BETR)
About the Company
Amplify Snack Brands (fka SkinnyPop Popcorn) is a marketer of better-for-you (“BFY”) branded packaged snack foods. In July 2014, TA completed an investment in SkinnyPop Popcorn, a ready-to-eat popcorn brand whose products are “skinny on ingredients” and only use all-natural non-GMO and major allergen-free ingredients. The company expanded its BFY snacking platform with the acquisitions of Paqui Tortilla Chips (acquired in April 2015), Oatmega Protein Bars (acquired in April 2016), and UK-based Tyrrells Potato and Vegetable Chips (acquired in September 2016). Amplify’s BFY product portfolio now includes popcorn, potato chips, vegetable chips, tortilla chips and protein bars and its products are sold in more than 40 countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The company was acquired by The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) in February 2018.
The Investment Opportunity
SkinnyPop Popcorn was founded in 2010 by Andy Friedman and Pam Netzky, Chicago-based entrepreneurs who had built the business to meaningful scale but needed help taking it to the next level of growth. TA’s Consumer team, in partnership with Tom Ennis, developed a macro thesis on the better-for-you snacking segment and actively sought a platform investment to act as a BFY brand consolidator. The group identified SkinnyPop Popcorn as a compelling and highly unique investment opportunity and completed a majority investment in the company in July 2014. SkinnyPop offered our firm the opportunity to invest in a rapidly growing, high margin and market leading BFY snack brand. In addition, SkinnyPop products experienced strong velocities and exceptional repeat purchase rates, and there appeared to be significant opportunities to expand the brand domestically and abroad.
Adding Value to Scale Growth
SkinnyPop’s founders chose to partner with TA due to our long history of successful growth company investing, and their belief that TA could add significant value and resources to their business. While the company was highly profitable and growing rapidly, it needed both infrastructure build-out and strategic guidance in order to take full advantage of its near- and long-term growth opportunities. TA had known Tom Ennis for several years and believed he was an ideal fit to lead SkinnyPop, given his background growing and transforming consumer brands, as well as his strong cultural fit with the founders. TA also helped recruit Brian Goldberg, whom the TA team had known for a number of years, to join SkinnyPop as CFO. Post the TA investment, TA’s Strategic Resource Group and deal sponsors worked with the new management team, existing head of sales and founders to build-out nearly every function of the company, including installing new ERP systems and moving the company headquarters to Austin, TX. Additionally, our firm helped Amplify originate and execute three acquisitions on its way to becoming the leading International purely BFY snacking company at the time of the acquisition by Hershey in February 2018.
By the end of TA’s ownership in February 2018, Amplify Snack Brands had grown to a staff of more than 450 employees and its SkinnyPop Popcorn remained one of the fastest growing brands of scale in the $20 billion-plus US salty snack industry. Paqui and Oatmega both gained significant distribution under Amplify’s ownership, while each had successfully introduced new flavors and meaningfully revamped their supply chains. The acquisition of Tyrrells provided Amplify with the opportunity to increase its scale and international reach while diversifying its product and brand portfolio. We believe the TA partnership has helped lay the groundwork for continued organic and acquisition-led growth both in North America and internationally.
Case studies have been selected for illustrative purposes for management teams of growth companies considering a partnership with TA and should not be considered an offer or solicitation of services or an actual or implied endorsement of TA or any security, investment or portfolio company. The portfolio companies highlighted are not representative of all current and prior investments of TA. A list of investments for the past 25 years is available on this website.