Parmalat buys two leading U.S. cookie companies

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ROME--Banking on America's sweet tooth to help to gain a strong foothold in the world's largest consumer market, Parmalat, Italy's largest food company, acquired two U.S.-based cookie companies for around $250 million.

Parmalat's takeover of Mother's Cake & Cookie Co. and Archway Cookies is waiting on U.S. government approval. The two companies are currently run by Chicago-based food giant Specialty Foods Corp. Together, the two firms will be the third largest cookie company in the U.S., with sales in all 50 states.

"These are outstanding brands with significant opportunities for growth. This is a key part of our rapidly growing North American bakery business," says Robert Cortese, Parmalat's global head of bakery.

Once the deal is completed, the company says it will review operations at Mother's and Archway to determine what changes will be made. Advertising is currently handled by a branch of Specialty Foods.

Parmalat has operations in 31 countries, with annual sales worth around $6 billion.

Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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