Maker of candy hearts sold to company that saved Twinkies

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BOSTON  — A company that once rescued the Twinkies brand is now taking over the maker of Necco Wafers.

The family business of billionaire Dean Metropoulos announced Friday it paid $17.3 million for the New England Confectionery Co., or Necco. It’s a surprise ending to a federal bankruptcy auction that initially left Necco to an Ohio company.

Spangler Candy Co. made the highest bid last week, but court records say it refused to close without a price reduction.

Instead a deal closed Thursday to sell Necco to a Connecticut-based branch of Metropoulos’ company, which made the second-highest bid.

Metropoulos’ firm previously bought Twinkies maker Hostess out of bankruptcy in 2013.

The 171-year-old Necco is based near Boston and is known for its Sweethearts candies sold around Valentine’s Day.