McCormick & Co., a 128-year-old spices and seasonings company, will acquire New Jersey-based RB Food, parent of brands including French’s, Frank’s RedHot and Cattlemen’s, for $4.2 billion.McCormick & Co., a 128-year-old spices and seasonings company, will acquire New Jersey-based RB Food, parent of brands including French’s, Frank’s RedHot and Cattlemen’s, for $4.2 billion.
“Our French’s Food business is a true reflection of RB’s strengths — a portfolio of great brands driven through a culture of innovation by passionate people to deliver consistent outperformance,” Rakesh Kapoor, CEO of RB Food’s U.K.-based parent company, Reckitt Benckiser Group, or RB, said. “We are pleased to be selling to owners who can provide the necessary resources, market expertise and global platform, whilst being a good home for our people.
“French’s Food is well-positioned to continue on its successful growth trajectory under the food-focused ownership of McCormick.”
Elliot Penner, president of The French’s Food Co. in Chester, is expected to comment on the sale — and the future of New Jersey operations — within the next few days.
The 113-year-old brand employs nearly 500, with 100 or so working at its New Jersey headquarters.
The French’s Food Co. has grown, on average, 4.5 percent each year since Penner joined the business in 1999.
“The whole concept of American food abroad has really taken off in the last five years or so,” Penner told NJBIZ last year. “Our business in the U.K. was up 45 percent this year; in Japan, up more than 50 percent.
“People are looking at the casual way of eating — that ability to make something at home that is quick, easy and fun — as the bedrock of American food.”
Penner added that, over the last couple of years, French’s Food Co. has worked to refine its product recipes so that more than 85 percent of its products were “clean” of artificial flavors, colorants, dyes and high-fructose corn syrup.
While RB has owned French’s since the 1920s, the French’s Food Co. accounted for just 4 percent of its total revenue.
Following RB’s acquisition in June of the pediatric-nutrition seller Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. for $16.6 billion, the British consumer-products company appears to have simply unloaded its food-related products in order to transform more effectively into a global leader in consumer health and hygiene.
RB has its U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, while McCormick is based in Sparks, Maryland.