Tate's to Be Sold for $500 Million

Tate's Bake Shop on North Sea Road in Southampton will remain open. Jennifer Landes

The snack food giant that produces Oreo cookies, among other household names, announced plans to purchase Tate's Bake Shop, a company started in Southampton by Kathleen King, for approximately $500 million.

On Monday, Mondelēz International said it had reached an agreement with the Riverside Company, a global private equity firm, and other shareholders, including Ms. King to acquire the company, best known for its thin-and-crispy cookies. Tate's baked goods are distributed across the country and sold online.

The deal is expected to close this summer.

Mondelēz International, based in Deerfield, Ill., said it will operate Tate’s as a separate business and that the senior leadership at the company will continue to run the business from its headquarters on Long Island, including its Bake Shop on North Sea Road in Southampton Village. 

Tate’s will continue to produce all products at its current manufacturing facility in East Moriches.

Ms. King began selling small batches of her chocolate chip cookies at her family's farmstand at North Sea Farms at the age of 11. She opened Kathleen's Bake Shop in Southampton at 21, and began selling a broader range of cookies and pies. Soon Kathleen's Cookies was sold in gourmet food shops throughout Manhattan and Long Island.

After she took on partners and a protracted legal battle ensued, a court ruled Ms. King could not use her own name for the business. She started a business again under the name Tate's Bake Shop, a nod to her farmer father, the late Richard (Tate) King, in 2000.

“My father represented everything to me that the bakery should be about, especially integrity. And tenacity," Ms. King told EAST Magazine in 2016.

In 2014, the Riverside Company purchased a majority stake in Tate's for a purported $100 million. Ms. King remained with the company in an advisory role to develop new recipes.

Tate’s has become one of the fastest growing biscuit brands in the country. According to a press release from Mondelēz International, the brand’s sales have quadrupled over the past five years.

“Tate’s has demonstrated exceptional and very profitable growth, and we look forward to working with the Tate‘s management team to expand distribution and build upon that success," said Dirk Van de Put, chairman and chief executive officer. 

“We’re thrilled and humbled to be joining a portfolio of some of the world’s most well-known and successful snacking brands,” said Maura Mottolese, C.E.O. of Tate’s Bake Shop. “Consistent with Mondelēz International’s purpose to create more moments of joy for consumers, providing an authentic, delicious indulgence has been at the heart of Tate’s Bake Shop since Kathleen first opened her storefront nearly two decades ago. Now, together with Mondelēz International, we’ll have the opportunity to take Tate’s to the next level and offer our cookies and baked treats to many more consumers across North America.”

Mondelēz International boasted net revenues of about $26 billion in 2017, and is considered a world leader in cookies, chocolate, gum, candy and powdered beverages. Some of its brands include Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Ritz Crackers, belVita biscuits, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Milka chocolate, and Trident gum.