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Stock Analyst Update

Hershey Scoops Up Pirate Brands

We estimate the acquired mix will contribute just a low-single-digit percentage to sales, and as such, it doesn't stand to alter our fair value estimate.

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Building off of the deal that brought Amplify to its fold late last year,  Hershey (HSY) has announced its intentions to scoop up Pirate Brands (including the Pirate’s Booty, Smart Puffs, and Original Tings brands) from B&G Foods. The deal, valued at $420 million, is slated to close in the fourth quarter of calendar 2018. We estimate the acquired mix will contribute just a low-single-digit percentage to sales, and as such, it doesn’t stand to alter our $116 fair value estimate (based on 3%-4% annual sales growth and a more than 300-basis-point increase in operating margins to nearly 24% by fiscal 2027). However, shares trade at less than a 10% discount to our valuation, and we’d suggest long-term investors await a slightly more attractive entry point before building a position. For investors looking to snack on confectionery fare, we’d recommend wide-moat Mondelez as a more attractive option.

CEO Michele Buck has expressed an interest in pursuing further tie-ups (particularly those that expand the firm’s reach within the health and wellness realm on its home turf, with an ideal target slated in the $300 million-$400 million range), and this deal aligns with that sentiment. Firms throughout the consumer product industry have succumbed to lackluster sales and volume, and we believe this deal affords Hershey another avenue by which to elevate its sales trajectory. For one, we surmise Hershey will likely look to broaden the distribution of Pirate Brands’ product mix into the convenience, drug, and mass markets, where Hershey has a strong foothold. We aren’t blind to the competitive and inflationary headwinds plaguing firms across the landscape, though we posit that Hershey will weather these challenges with its leading brand mix, entrenched retail relationships, and vast global scale (which underlie our wide moat rating).

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Erin Lash does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.