1-800-Flowers.com to Buy Fannie May Confections Brands

You could call this a sweet deal: 1-800-Flowers.com has signed a definitive agreement to buy Fannie May Confections Brands from Alpine Confections for approximately $85 million in cash. The $75 million Fannie May is the parent company of the Fannie May, Fanny Farmer, and Harry London brands of candy.

The acquisition, which is expected to close by early May, includes 52 Fannie May stores in the Chicago area and a 200,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in North Canton, OH. Fannie May Confections will remain based in Chicago. Dave Taiclet will remain as CEO, Terry Mitchell as president, Matthew Anderson as chief financial officer, and Alan Petrik as chief operating officer.

The purchase is in keeping with Carle Place, NY-based 1-800-Flowers’ goal of expanding its nonfloral gift offerings. In March 2005 it acquired $34 million cookie cataloger Cheryl & Co. for $40 million; in November 2004 it purchased $9 million The Winetasting Network and its $2 million Ambrosia Wine subsidiary. Its other titles include The Popcorn Factory, home goods catalog Plow & Hearth, and toys titles HearthSong and Magic Cabin Dolls.

“The Fannie May, Harry London, and Fanny Farmer names … offer a significant opportunity for growth, particularly through the leveraging of our assets and capabilities in the online and direct marketing space,” 1-800-Flowers CEO Jim McCann said in a statement. “In addition to a collection of iconic brands that enjoy tremendous customer affinity, we expect this acquisition to enhance our candy category gross profit margins through extensive manufacturing and retail capabilities.”

In addition to its manufacturing and retail operations, Fannie May Confections includes a Fannie May print catalog. According to its data card, there were nearly 35,000 12-month buyers who spent an average of $36 an order.