Sector News

B&G Foods in the lead to buy General Mills’ Green Giant – sources

September 1, 2015
Food & Drink

(Reuters) – Snack food company B&G Foods Inc (BGS.N) is in late-stage discussions to acquire General Mills Inc’s (GIS.N) Green Giant frozen and canned vegetable business, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

If B&G prevails in the auction for Green Giant, it would expand beyond its shelf-stable snack food into the frozen food aisle. Its negotiations with General Mills are ongoing and there is no certainty a deal will be reached, the sources said.

Private equity firms Cerberus Capital Management LP and Platinum Equity LLC, as well as French food group Bonduelle SCA (BOND.PA), have also made offers for Green Giant, and General Mills may choose to engage in negotiations with them if its discussions with B&G are unsuccessful, the sources added.

A deal from these various parties could value Green Giant, which has roughly $700 million in sales, at between $600 million and $800 million, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified disclosing confidential information.

Spokespeople for General Mills, B&G, Cerberus, Platinum Equity and Bonduelle either declined to comment or did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

B&G has a market capitalization of $1.7 billion. Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, it sells across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Its brands include Vermont Maid Syrup, Pirate Brands, maker of Pirate’s Booty Popcorn, and Cream of Wheat.

In May, B&G announced a secondary offering to raise approximately $125 million, which it said it could use for acquisitions. Two months later, it bought Spartan Foods of America Inc, which sells pizza crusts under the brand name Mama Mary’s, for $50 million.

Green Giant, whose mascot is the Jolly Green Giant, makes more than 160 products. It has struggled as consumer preferences shift away from sauced varieties toward more plain vegetables.

BY LAUREN HIRSCH AND GREG ROUMELIOTIS (Editing by Leslie Adler)

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