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May 7, 2018 5:54 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tate's Bake Shop To Be Sold For Nearly $500 Million

Tate's Bake Shop in Southampton Village.
May 8, 2018 5:59 PM

The company behind such brands as Oreo cookies, Trident gum, belVita biscuits and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate this week acquired Tate’s Bake Shop of Southampton, the latest giant international step forward for a venture that began on a North Sea farm.

The deal, worth nearly $500 million, was announced this week by Mondelez International and is expected to be finalized sometime this summer.

Mondelez International, which is based in Deerfield, Illinois, and has products in roughly 160 countries, touts itself as “building the best snacking company in the world,” according to the press release, and in 2017 reported approximately $26 billion in revenue.

Tate’s Bake Shop, which opened in 2000 and is still partially owned by founder Kathleen King—and named for her father, Richard “Tate” King, who died in 2016—is best known for its all-natural baked chocolate chip cookies, cakes, brownies and pies. After an earlier deal expanded its operations, Tate’s products are sold nationally in grocery and specialty food stores, and in various locations throughout the East End and Long Island—including its busy base of operations in Southampton Village—and online.

Ms. King, 59, started selling cookies when she was 11 years old on the North Sea farm owned by her father to pay for her own school supplies. With modest dreams of owning a car and having her own apartment, at the age of 20 she started her own business called Kathleen’s Bake Shop, which came to an end after a tangled relationship with business partners.

Forced to start over, she named the new shop after her father, who earned the nickname “Tate” while picking “taters” on the family farm as a young boy.

In 2007, Ms. King moved the Tate’s baking operation to a 15,000-square-foot building on Montauk Highway in East Moriches. “I really just wanted to be the best cookie in America,” she said on Tuesday.

And she was. In 2013, Tate’s Cookies were named the best cookie in America by Consumer Reports, and, the following year, the Riverside Company, which was founded in 1988 and focuses on acquiring and investing in growing businesses valued at up to $250 million, made a substantial investment in Tate’s Bake Shop, in an effort to expand the marketing and product location for what was already a nationally retailed bakery. The partnership was designed to enhance distribution, production and manufacturing for the company.

In 2015, Riverside moved a big portion of distribution to the Hampton Business District, an incubator at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton. A press release said Tate’s will continue to produce all products at its current manufacturing facility in East Moriches.

“Mondelez International will operate Tate’s as a separate standalone business to nurture its entrepreneurial spirit and maintain the authenticity of the brand while providing resources to accelerate growth,” a press release said. “Tate’s Bake Shop senior leadership will continue to run the Tate’s business from its headquarters on Long Island, including its Bake Shop located in Southampton.”

“We’re thrilled and humbled to be joining a portfolio of some of the world’s most well-known and successful snacking brands,” Maura Mottolese, the chief executive officer of Tate’s Bake Shop, said in a press release. “Consistent with Mondelez 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 [King] first opened her storefront nearly two decades ago. Now, together with Mondelez 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.”

On Tuesday, Ms. King reflected on her journey to this point, and at times was emotional.

When starting out, she said, she would work 18-hour days, seven days a week, and the hard work paid off.

“It’s just something I can be proud of, because the Tate’s brand generated this type of interest,” Ms. King said. “I feel that the Tate’s brand is going to be an international brand, and is going to be my legacy. That’s very rewarding.”

Since the Riverside Company invested in Tate’s, Ms. King has been a board member and has continued to create new recipes. With the sale announcement this week, she plans to retire.

“Tate’s is a great strategic fit that will complement our portfolio of beloved snacks brands,” Dirk Van de Put, chairman and chief executive officer of Mondelez International, said in a press release. “With a unique and authentic brand and truly delicious products, this acquisition gives us an attractive entry point into the fast-growing premium cookie segment.”

“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,” he added.

With Tate’s reaching international status, Ms. King said she is thankful to Southampton.

“I had a really interesting journey with a lot of ups and downs,” she said. “I’m just really grateful to be here in Southampton, because the people here always support me and help me when I’m down and when I’m up.”

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W-O-W !!!
By Robert I Ross (224), Hampton Bays on May 7, 18 7:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
You rock, Kathleen!! Way to go!
By pvalk6 (25), Southampton on May 7, 18 7:41 PM
3 members liked this comment
Let’s see the size of the cookies in a year from now...
By Mouthampton (384), Southampton on May 7, 18 8:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
Too bad quality has gone down. Rarely buy their pies anymore.
By metsfan2 (130), southampton on May 7, 18 9:04 PM
Sorry you lost your taste buds; I still have mine and but the oatmeal cookies every week in my area of Florida. I was so excited to see the tate's pkg. in the Publix store near me.
By summertimegal (81), southampton on May 8, 18 9:33 AM
Totally agreed, the place was way better when it was Kathleens, the cookies are not the same neither the pies....
By angelsurfer7979 (2), Bridgehampton on May 15, 18 1:05 PM
They are identical.
By SlimeAlive (811), Southampton on May 15, 18 5:07 PM
thanks debbie downer
By BrianWilliams (34), on May 7, 18 11:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
GOOD FOR HER!!!
By bigfresh (3446), north sea on May 8, 18 5:39 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thanks to President Trump's booming economy.
May 8, 18 8:12 AM appended by pw herman
(Kathleen's life long hard work really made this possible)
By pw herman (927), southampton on May 8, 18 8:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks to the globalist economy you mean.
By johnj (795), Westhampton on May 8, 18 8:44 AM
No I don't.
By pw herman (927), southampton on May 8, 18 9:33 AM
take it elsewhere. this is a celebration. there is zero room for your tortured game here.
By even flow (626), East Hampton on May 8, 18 9:49 AM
2 members liked this comment
Mondelez is literally derived from the Spanish for world, you dolts.
By johnj (795), Westhampton on May 8, 18 12:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm truly puzzled by the ''good for her, bad for us'' sentiment. This isn't bad for anyone. This woman is one of the most successful self-made locals in East End history She is a model to be held up proudly. Now, if that half-a-billion included the Crutchley Crueller recipe, let's get this party started.
By SlimeAlive (811), Southampton on May 8, 18 8:51 AM
5 members liked this comment
Bad for us because conglomerates rarely use good ingredients. I bet you'll love all the chemicals added---enjoy your party.
By Tank (2), East Hampton on May 8, 18 9:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Pacman (112), Southampton on May 9, 18 3:12 PM
She already sold it for $100M a few years back.
By btdt (417), water mill on May 10, 18 2:45 PM
super true! the big companies will add tons of preservatives and chemicals and change the recipe, but what do they care, its a win win for both companies....lol
By angelsurfer7979 (2), Bridgehampton on May 15, 18 1:07 PM
she retained a % of ownership.
By SlimeAlive (811), Southampton on May 15, 18 5:07 PM
Good for you. A;; that hard work and perseverance. Years ago I would go up there as a kid and she would give us a bag of the broken cookies. It was like hitting the jackpot.
By dnice (2325), Hampton Bays on May 8, 18 9:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
Perfect cookies! Kathleen for Congress!!
By allenfein (56), Southampton on May 8, 18 9:17 AM
2 members liked this comment
Perfect cookies! Kathleen for Congress!!
By allenfein (56), Southampton on May 8, 18 9:17 AM
Slime, you had to bring up crutchley cruellers. Those things were the best. Bravo to Kathleen, American success story.
By Fred s (106), Southampton on May 8, 18 10:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well done Kathleen, a kid with a dream, now a great women who has achieved the dream and more. I hope they will keep Kathleen on as a advisor. Well Done Girl...
By knitter (1198), Southampton on May 8, 18 10:06 AM
I will say Kathleen is one of the humblest persons I have ever meet! you go GIRL!
By Bond007 (18), Hampton Bays on May 8, 18 10:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
What ever happened to the bootleg Kathleen's Bake Shop in VA and the folks who stole the name?

I bet they didn't parlay their court case into half a billion smackaroos!

That's a lot of sugar.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (2745), HAMPTON BAYS on May 8, 18 11:13 AM
Justice rules.
By Taz (413), East Quogue on May 8, 18 11:26 AM
Justice rules.
By Taz (413), East Quogue on May 8, 18 11:41 AM
Oreo bought out Tates for $500 million and I'm still waiting for CNN to post something...anything at all about the creeper libtard Eric Schneiderman. THIS is why we call it fake news. It's not the lying...it's the non-reporting.
By DiseaseDiocese (76), Riverhead on May 8, 18 8:31 PM
2 members liked this comment
It's been on their front page since the news broke, get your eyes checked.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (2745), HAMPTON BAYS on May 9, 18 6:56 AM
3 members liked this comment
To be fair, Fox didn't cover any revelations in any of their primetime shows last night. They covered a pretty exciting car chase though.
May 9, 18 1:43 PM appended by Pacman
Cohen* revelations
By Pacman (112), Southampton on May 9, 18 1:43 PM
There's not a comment from Pacman on this site that doesn't leave me in stitches!

Thank you for your contribution, never change.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (2745), HAMPTON BAYS on May 9, 18 1:58 PM
My eyes are fine. Guess who monetarily supports Schneiderman? George Soros. SHOCKER!!!
By DiseaseDiocese (76), Riverhead on May 9, 18 6:12 PM
We got ourselves another InfoWars casualty here fellas.

Sad!
By johnj (795), Westhampton on May 10, 18 9:48 AM
2 members liked this comment
Who is George Soros?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (2745), HAMPTON BAYS on May 10, 18 10:11 AM
Ain't surprised at all about *that*, considering whom else he backs with his astonishing wealth.
By elliot (241), sag harbor on May 17, 18 1:28 PM
There goes the great quality that Tate's stood for---and that's why she's retiring. Check out the new list of ingredients to see if you can pronounce the newly added chemicals. Sad. But someone else will come along to carry the day---just keep your open.
By Tank (2), East Hampton on May 8, 18 9:23 PM
Chocolate Chip
Ingredients: Semi‐sweet chocolate chips vanilla, Unbleached flour , Butter, Cane sugar, Brown cane sugar, Eggs, Baking soda, Salt, and Vanilla extract. Contains‐ Wheat, Milk, Eggs, and Soy.

By even flow (626), East Hampton on May 10, 18 7:09 AM
Let's hope "The Song Remains the Same", as it were...
By Mr. Z (10086), North Sea on May 16, 18 8:12 PM
Oreo did not buy Tate’s. Oreos are made in Mexico by Nabisco.
By Moral Dolphin (18), Southampton on May 9, 18 3:09 AM
Correction. Mondelēz did buy Tate’s. Hope they don’t move production elsewhere
By Moral Dolphin (18), Southampton on May 9, 18 3:11 AM
Thank god for the American Dream. Also good thing that the government ( bleeding heart liberals) didn't think of regulating small bakeries out of business like most everything else
By claypit (4), speonk on May 9, 18 7:38 PM
Kathleen was ripped off over a decade ago almost loses everything. Gets right back in it hundred times stronger and makes millions. That's a true success story!
By chief1 (2432), southampton on May 10, 18 9:22 AM
The reason for the bad decisions made many years ago was Kathleen trusted the wrong people. She learned her lesson then and has made many good decisions since. The oatmeal cookie has remained the delicious good cookie I remember, with one exception like everything else they are made smaller. :(.
By summertimegal (81), southampton on May 10, 18 8:47 PM
Remember when it was Kathleen’s? And they sold it? And they completely changed the recipe? Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen? I’m betting corners will be cut and it will be a less expensive, not-as-good product.
By btdt (417), water mill on May 10, 18 2:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
The number of bitter sour pusses is remarkable. Why the overt hostility?
By Phyllisann (5), Lebanon on May 10, 18 4:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Because unfortunately there is a way things "work" to "maximize profitability". Especially when something, like say a pharmaceutical company, is overvalued, purchased, and then either the quality declines, or the price skyrockets for product. Or, worse yet both...
By Mr. Z (10086), North Sea on May 10, 18 8:54 PM
The sugar is making them cranky.
By Pacman (112), Southampton on May 11, 18 3:00 PM
Or maybe it's a fear stoked by things that have been "sold out", and lost their character. There have been many.
By Mr. Z (10086), North Sea on May 16, 18 8:13 PM
Good Lord , another anti Capitalism bit of snark from JuneZ, yaaaaawn
By bigfresh (3446), north sea on May 11, 18 5:52 AM
@bigfresh:

Best not label statements of fact as opinion, or mischaracterize them, or attach my moniker to posts other than my own.
By June Bug (2021), SOUTHAMPTON on May 11, 18 5:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
Congratulations! You followed your passion and never let success change your good heart. Even though your mom and dad are up in heaven, we know that they are so proud of you. We are too!
By Liftup88 (2), Southampton on May 11, 18 9:30 AM
Haters spend more time saying stupid comments then wonder why they cant be a success.
By chief1 (2432), southampton on May 11, 18 11:06 AM
Kathleen's cookies have been great for decades. Through other business upheavals as well. Nothing has changed just yet and, still, people are angry. Can't you be happy for a minute that a local has been so successful? Especially a local who, with her family, has done so much good in the community? I only wish Kathleen's dad were around a bit longer to have seen it. I hope this doesn't mean that Richie won't still be delivering great, fresh eggs around town. That would be a tragedy.
By Tom Stengel (2), Southampton on May 12, 18 1:01 AM
When you type the same exact negative nonsense on 27 east’s Facebook page, it’s easy to see who is who here.
By SlimeAlive (811), Southampton on May 12, 18 6:06 AM
A silly, but telling observation here:

The stunning reduction in the size of the cookies over the past 20+years.
One of the important selling points (aside from flavor and texture) of the original "Kathleens"-later Tates, was that they were considerably larger than any other cookies available.

I guess now the consumer can expect far less expensive ingredients and even smaller sizes once the conglomerate starts producing them.

Such is the all-devouring effect of ...more
By elliot (241), sag harbor on May 17, 18 1:18 PM
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