Ferrara Sweetens Portfolio, Buys Jelly Belly — A Candy Favorite Of This US President

Zinger Key Points
  • Jelly Belly was recently the subject of a bitter litigation with the candy's original creator.
  • David Klein, who sold his interest in Jelly Belly in 1980, alleges that the company has been trying to "rewrite" history.

Jelly Belly candy — once the go-to sugar fix for former President Ronald Reagan when he was trying to kick a smoking habit — is now under the same roof as Nerds and Sweet Tarts.

What Happened: Ferrara Candy Company, the U.S. subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Ferrero SpA, agreed to buy the family-owned jelly bean company for an undisclosed price.

Ferrara, which also owns Gobstoppers and Lemonheads, acquired Jelly Belly — known for its more than 100 flavors of jelly beans — through a holding company called CTH Invest.

An estimated 800 Jelly Belly employees, based in California, Illinois, and Thailand, are expected to join the Ferrara organization.

Jeff Brown, currently executive vice president of global operations and distribution of Jelly Belly, will be CEO.

Raymond James advised Jelly Belly on the sale process. The law firms Foley & Lardner LLP and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP handled legal matters for Jelly Belly and Ferrara, respectively.

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Why It Matters: The Jelly Belly purchase comes on the heels of a contentious legal back-and-forth between the candy's creator and the company that originally acquired it back in 1980.

The candy was first sold at an Alhambra, California-based ice cream parlor in 1976 by entrepreneur David Klein. Four years later, Klein and his partner sold their interest in the Jelly Belly brand to the Herman Goelitz Candy Company for $5 million.

Jelly Belly's popularity under the Goelitz banner spiked. In 1981, the company was even given permission by the Reagan White House to develop a "Jelly Belly jelly bean jar" with the Presidential Seal on it.

By 2001, Goelitz started doing business as the Jelly Belly Company.

In 2022, Jelly Belly sued Klein in federal court for his use of the phrase "founder of Jelly Belly."

Klein filed his own lawsuits (in New York and California), alleging that the company's brass was trying to "rewrite the history and origin of the Jelly Belly jelly bean." He currently has a GoFundMe page to raise money for legal fees.

Jelly Belly's rivals in the candy store sector include Haribo, Mederer GmbH, Albanese, Perfetti Van Melle, Arcor, Yupi, Goody Good Stuff and Hershey Co HSY.

The gummy candy market is reportedly valued at more than $3 billion.

See Also: Ozempic Weight Loss Drug Maker Is Making Money Hand Over Fist - And Just Raised Its Profit Forecast

Image by Jondolar Schnurr from Pixabay

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