Parsippany-based food manufacturer B&G Foods Inc. is buying the well-known Green Giant frozen and canned food brand from General Mills Inc. for approximately $765 million in cash, the company announced Thursday.“Frozen food is a new and exciting space for us, and Green Giant represents a giant leap forward for our company,” CEO and President Robert C. Cantwell said on a conference call.
The deal also includes the Le Sueur brand of frozen and canned foods, as well as a manufacturing facility in Mexico and manufacturing equipment at a General Mills plant in Illinois, B&G said.
The transaction, whose price is subject to an inventory adjustment, is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to customary conditions, B&G added in a news release.
“Green Giant is the largest and probably the most iconic vegetable brand in North America,” Cantwell said.
“The Green Giant acquisition provides us with a great opportunity for growth in a large industry segment,” he added.
Cantwell admitted the brand “has struggled recently,” but pointed to B&G’s track record of turning around acquired food lines.
Cantwell added that B&G intends to add Green Giant personnel to its sales force and rapidly increase both marketing staff and spending to help bolster the acquisition. The company could add 40 to 50 employees, it said, not including those at the Mexican facility who would transfer to B&G.
B&G said the deal is expected to add approximately $550 million in annual net sales and $95 million to $100 million in adjusted earnings to the company’s bottom line after a six- to 12-month transition period.
“For over 100 years, Green Giant and Le Sueur have been providing consumers with great-tasting, nutritious vegetables ‘picked at the peak of perfection,’” Cantwell said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to building on that rich history.”
B&G’s products include the Cream of Wheat, Devonsheer, Emeril’s, JJ Flats, Molly McButter, Mrs. Dash, Old London, Pirate’s Booty and other brands.
B&G said it intends to fund the deal through loans under its existing credit facility, including financing commitments from Barclays Bank PLC, BofA Merrill Lynch and RBC Capital Markets.
Barclays and RBC served as its financial advisers on the deal. Rothschild was General Mills’ financial adviser.