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Krave jerky re-acquired by Jon Sebastiani, Sonoma Brands

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Krave Jerky, the homegrown snack company sold to the Hershey Co. for $232 million, has been reacquired by founder Jon Sebastiani and is returning to its birthplace in downtown Sonoma.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but Sebastiani described the purchase price as a “bargain” and “a fraction” of what Hershey paid him for the Krave brand in 2015.

“It feels great to have it back because this is the brand that paved my way and changed my life,” Sebastiani said. “I owe my current reality to Krave and I look forward to returning it to its previous position of dominance in the healthy snack category.”

Sebastiani used some of the proceeds of the 2015 Krave sale to form Sonoma Brands, his Sonoma-headquartered company that invests in and develops new snack brands. No Hershey employees will be joining the company, which will be moving some staff around and hiring in Sonoma as it attempts to grow the Krave brand, Sebastiani said.

“I feel confident that, with an eye on innovation and a focus on execution, we can reestablish strong retail relationships and grow the brand dramatically,” he said.

The Krave portfolio now includes Krave Meat Cuts, Pork Rinds and Plant-Based Jerky.

Sebastiani expects to open a retail storefront later this year for Krave and other products owned by Sonoma Brands on West Napa Street, where a “jerky bar” was originally planned after its sale to Hershey.

Sonoma Brands’ portfolio now includes Smashmallow snackable marshmallows, Smashgummy low-sugar gummies and Peckish boiled eggs.

As a private equity investor, Sonoma Brands has also made investments in Milk Bar, Hum Nutrition vitamins and supplements, Beekeeper’s Naturals health solutions, Hu Products plant-based chocolate, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Versed skincare, True Botanicals nontoxic personal care and more.

Email Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.

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