Century-old jerky maker Oberto Brands exploring a sale

Iconic Seattle jerky maker Oberto Brands is exploring its options, which may include a sale after a century of family ownership.

After a century as a family-owned business, Seattle meat-snack maker Oberto Brands is considering a sale.

“We are exploring different options to ensure that we have the ability to invest in our continued growth,” the Kent-based company said in a statement Monday, without specifying those alternatives.

The chief executive of another jerky manufacturer who was approached about purchasing Oberto said the company has hired a boutique investment banking firm to sell all or part of the company, merge with a competitor, or raise more capital.

“Whoever buys them will keep the brand because that’s the biggest asset they have,” said the other manufacturer, who asked not to be named while discussing a competitor.

Oberto declined a request for an interview with CEO Tom Hernquist.

The company’s statement said it is “evaluating these options based on what is best for our company, our employees, and our shareholders. This will allow us to grow while we maintain the commitment to our people, product quality, and fair and honest business practices that we have been known for in the Seattle community for a century.”

The company’s exploration of a sale was first reported Thursday by Puget Sound Business Journal.

Oberto Brands sells jerky under its own brands, which include Pacific Gold and Cattleman’s Cut, and is also a private-label manufacturer. It has some 500 employees — 750 when counting temporary workers — across its headquarters and factory in Kent, and a factory outlet store on Rainier Avenue in Seattle.

Its main Oberto brand is iconic, particularly around the Puget Sound region, where the red, green and white logo has long graced the hulls of hydroplanes on Lake Washington. It is also one of the most recognized brands on the jerky market, trailing only Slim Jim and market leader…

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