HANOVER, Pa. - -The deal is off for a Pennsylvania snack food company's plan to buy its nearby competitor.

Utz Quality Foods and Snyder's of Hanover said that they have halted their merger efforts.

The companies cited a "protracted review" process from the Federal Trade Commission as the cause of the breakup, according to The Evening Sun in Hanover.

Snyder's had announced Oct. 21 that it planned to acquire Utz. Company officials hoped the deal would be done by the end of the year but announced Wednesday that it was over.

Both companies are privately held. They are located in Hanover, in York County, and make pretzels, potato chips and other salty snacks.

The companies have factories in Hanover and extensive distribution networks for selling snacks across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Snyder's has 2,250 employees and had sales of $652 million last year; Utz has 2,200 employees and had revenue of $166 million last year, according to

The companies' largest competitor is Frito-Lay, which is owned by PepsiCo. Frito-Lay's revenues in North America alone were $12.5 billion last year, according to financial documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Snyder's and Utz have operated as independent, family-run businesses since the early 1900s, building well-known brands across the Baltimore region, which served as an early market.

Snyder's is the country's largest maker of pretzels. It has 1,800 distribution routes nationwide, and besides Hanover, has production facilities in Jeffersonville, Ind., and Goodyear, Ariz. In Maryland, the company has distribution facilities in Frederick and on the Eastern Shore.

Utz has four factories in Hanover, makes 1 million pounds of chips and 900,000 pounds of pretzels each week, and distributes its snacks along 700 routes in 13 states, according to its Web site.

The companies, little more than an hour's drive northwest of Baltimore, have long supplied consumers here with pretzels and potato chips, as well as cheese curls and O-Ke-Doke popcorn.

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