NEW YORK (AP) — Chocolate and candy maker The Hershey Co. is acquiring Amplify Snack Brands for $1.2 billion as it ventures into the healthy snack aisle.

The boards of both companies have agreed on the deal in which Hershey will acquire all outstanding stock of Amplify for $12 per share in cash. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

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Amplify, which makes Skinny Pop popcorn, Tyrrells potato chips and Oatmega protein bars, was founded in 2014 and is based in Austin. The company has about 600 employees.

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Shares in Amplify, which closed at $7 on Friday, jumped more than 70 percent, to nearly $12, in premarket trading on news of the deal.

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