Family-owned confectionery wholesaler Hancocks has been sold in a management buy-out led by CEO Mark Watson and backed by H2 Equity Partners.

The new owners said the sale of the £100m turnover business would support continued expansion.

“I am delighted to be leading such a strong company that has the prospect of becoming a much bigger player within confectionery wholesaling. We have some exciting plans and opportunities to take the business forward with H2 at the helm,” said Hancocks CEO Mark Watson.

In the wake of the demise of Woolworths, the specialist in the supply of pick and mix and other confectionery to independents has seen growth accelerate.

It has been able to expand its national depot network, with new sites in Reading and Croydon. H2 and Watson see opportunities for expansion of the network as well as further development of the product range and the online business.

Hancocks chairman Andrew Hancock, whose parents Ray and Liz founded Hancocks in 1962, said he was confident the business was in good hands.

“From a sweet shop in Shepshed, our family has grown the business to a group that serves many thousands of businesses with their confectionery supplies. We now hand the baton on with pride, knowing that Hancocks can only go from strength to strength,” he said.

Caroline Belcher, who advised the Hancocks brothers at Cavendish Corporate Finance, added: “I am delighted that we could put together a transaction which resulted in such a supportive home for the Hancocks business and the management team as well as meeting all of the Hancock family’s aspirations.”