Necco Wafers live on after bankrupt parent finds a buyer

Family-owned Spangler Candy has acquired bankrupt New England Confection Co., known as Necco, for $18.83 million. Why is that noteworthy? The deal saves from extinction New England Confection's namesake Necco Wafers, a sweet, chalky treat that consumers have either loved or despised since before the Civil War.

At least, that's the case for now, which might be a relief to Necco fans, who reportedly began hoarding it when news of the candymaker's financial problems spread on social media earlier this year, causing prices to skyrocket.

Spangler, the maker of Dum-Dum lollipops, Circus Peanuts and Candy Canes, outbid two other parties including Round Hill Investments led by former Necco CEO Al Gulachenski, according to The Boston Globe. The sale is expected to close Friday.

The future of Necco Wafers, however, is far from clear. According to the Globe, Necco will continue to operate through the fall. When pressed for detail on his plans for Necco by the Globe, Spangler CEO Kirk Vashaw declined to comment. Vashaw also didn't return a phone message from CBS MoneyWatch.  

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Necco Wafers

New England Candy Company

"It has been speculated that the sugar candies like Necco Wafers and Sweethearts will be their focus," said CandyStore.com. "Chocolate brands like Clark Bars and Sky Bars might not make the cut. If they decide to focus on the sugar line, a sale of the chocolate brands to a chocolate-focused candy company seems likely."

Necco's recent history has been far from sweet.

In March, Necco CEO Michael McGee notified local and state officials that most of its 395 workers would lose their jobs unless the company found a buyer by May. Three of Necco's creditors filed a petition with the court in April to force the candymaker into involuntary bankruptcy.

Necco's other claim to fame is Sweethearts, small candy-shaped hearts with sayings printed on them that are popular on Valentine's Day.

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    Jonathan Berr is an award-winning journalist and podcaster based in New Jersey whose main focus is on business and economic issues.