Mondelēz to buy Clif Bar for at least $2.9B

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Dive Brief:

  • Mondelēz International is buying Clif Bar & Company for $2.9 billion with the potential for additional payments, the company said in a statement.
  • The acquisition of the bar maker includes the Clif, Luna and Clif Kid brands and will expand Mondelēz’s global snack bar business to more than $1 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
  • The purchase by the CPG giant further expands its reach into fast-growing snacking categories while giving it a major presence in the high-growth bar business.

Dive Insight:

While Mondelēz is best known for brands such as Oreo, Ritz and Triscuit, the snacking giant has been on an aggressive acquisition spree during the past four and a half years.

Since 2018, the company has closed nine deals with more than $2.8 billion in additional revenue, the company said. The snacking deals have targeted four areas that strengthen its portfolio and fill gaps: well-being, premium, core white space and adjacent categories.

The deals include the purchase of Hu, a maker of snacks and chocolates made from simple ingredients; premium cookie maker Tate’s Bake Shop, which uses sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup; and a majority stake in Perfect Snacks, the manufacturer of refrigerated organic, non-GMO, nut butter-based protein bars and bites.

Mondelēz said it will be able to tap into its global and North American scale by expanding Clif’s distribution and gaining further penetration in existing and new customers and channels in the U.S. In fiscal 2021, about 70% of Mondelēz’s $28.7 billion in revenue came outside North America from countries in Latin America; Asia, Middle East and Africa; and Europe.

“This transaction further advances our ambition to lead the future of snacking by winning in chocolate, biscuits and baked snacks as we continue to scale our high-growth snack bar business,” Mondelēz CEO Dirk Van de Put said in a statement.

Clif’s roots date back to 1990 when Gary Erickson set off on a one-day, 175-mile bicycle ride with his buddy, the company said on its website. Halfway through the ride, exhausted and hungry, he realized he couldn’t eat another one of the “unappetizing, sticky, hard-to-digest bars” on the market and Clif was born. He named the bar, which was formally launched in 1992, after his dad Clifford who introduced him to wilderness adventures.

Clif has carved out a reputation in snacking with its nutritious and organic food snacks, creating a foothold in the fast-growing category along with other brands such as Kind. Large CPGs have taken notice. Mars purchased Kind in 2020 for an estimated price tag that valued it at more than $5 billion. 

Clif finally agreed to be acquired for a much higher price tag after turning down a $120 million sale to Quaker Oats in 2000.

In buying Clif, Mondelēz is adding to the fold a snacking bar brand with a reputation in the well-being and nutrition/energy segments. It will quickly accelerate Mondelēz’s presence in the $16 billion global snack bar category that is growing more than 5% annually, the Chicago-based company said.  

Clif also has a presence beyond its core organic energy bar in categories such as women with its Luna line, and children with Clif Kids. It also has entered the ultra-competitive plant-based jerky segment with its own offering, and debuted a cereal as well as energy gels and chews geared toward athletes. Mondelēz could further grow these extensions and potentially bring insight it garners from working with them into some of the other brands in its portfolio.

Mondelēz said it will continue to operate Clif Bar from its headquarters in Emeryville, California. It also will continue to manufacture Clif products in its facilities in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Mondelēz International is the right partner at the right time to support Clif in our next chapter of growth,” Sally Grimes, Clif’s CEO, said in a statement. “Our purposes and cultures are aligned and being part of a global snacking company with broad product offerings can help us accelerate our growth while staying true to our deeply ingrained Five Aspirations — sustaining our people, planet, community, business, and brands.”

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About the Author

Jervie David Montejar
A food lover who wants to try every delicious dishes around him and spread the news to everyone to try it as well. Finding the latest trends about food and restaurants around Cebu and the rest of the world :) "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." -Ernestine Ulmer
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