Hochland SE, a privately-held Bavaria, Germany-based cheese company, acquired Franklin Foods, Delray Beach, Fla.

Jon Gutknecht, current partner, president and CEO of Franklin Foods, will continue to lead Franklin Foods and maintain an interest in the new venture. Franklin Foods will continue to operate independently as a wholly owned subsidiary of Hochland SE. Franklin Foods' strong manufacturing and sales platform in the U.S. cream cheese market complements Hochland's international growth strategy.

"We are thrilled to announce the acquisition," says Gutknecht. "Hochland and Franklin share a common vision around providing superior customer service, creating best-in-class products and ensuring a company culture that strives to make a difference for our customers and brands. As a company with a successful 100-year heritage, we are especially proud to join Hochland in 2017 as they celebrate their 90th anniversary, and we look forward to many great years ahead."

The Franklin Foods acquisition follows the establishment of Hochland's U.S. sales organization, Bergland Cheese USA LLC in 2014, and marks a significant strategic step by Hochland into the U.S. market. The combined entity will allow Franklin Foods to continue its growth and deliver on its mission to re-invent cream cheese for today's consumer.

"We are very excited about this acquisition," says Peter Stahl, chief executive officer of Hochland SE. "Franklin's strong market position, nationwide distribution and two modern production plants offer Hochland the ideal platform for the successful implementation of our own brands and products in the USA."

Franklin Foods operates two manufacturing facilities in Casa Grande, Ariz., and Enosburg Falls, Vt.