Three new bidders have stepped in with offers to buy the bankrupt manufacturer of Necco Wafers, Sweethearts and other iconic candies.
There are now four offers for Massachusetts-based Necco, or New England Confectionery Co., at a bankruptcy auction scheduled for Wednesday in Boston.
"They're all interested in what we call the 'sugar line,' the ones that produce the Wafers and the Sweethearts," Harry Murphy, Necco's court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, told The Boston Globe. "We're very pleased there's been this much interest in the company."
The future of Necco's chocolate products, which include the Sky Bar and the Clark bar, is not clear, he said.
The bidders have all indicated they will keep Necco operating at its current location in Revere, just north of Boston, at least through the fall, he said. Prospects beyond that remain uncertain.
Gordon Brothers, which was in negotiations to purchase the company for $13.3 million before Necco filed for bankruptcy protection in April, is designated as the initial bidder.
The highest bid, $15 million, is from Round Hill Investments LLC, which specializes in reviving consumer brands.
Family-owned Spangler Candy Co. entered a bid of $14.5 million.
Kgbdeals Shopping Inc. bid almost $14 million.
Bidding will likely start at $15 million, the highest bid on the table, Murphy said.
Necco announced in March it would close its plant and lay off hundreds of workers if a buyer wasn't found.
The announcement prompted sales of the hard, chalky, multicolored wafers to surge, fueled by nostalgic candy lovers.
Necco traces its roots to 1847 and calls itself the nation's oldest continuously operating candy company.