Hillshire: Pinnacle Foods Bought by Former Sara Lee Corp. for $4.3B

Monday, 12 May 2014 01:22 PM

By Nick Sanchez

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Hillshire Brands will buy Pinnacle Foods for $4.3 billion in a move that will see Sara Lee and Jimmy Dean joined by Duncan Hines and Mrs. Butterworth.

Pinnacle products reach 85 percent of U.S. households, and have at least a Top-2 position in 10 of 13 grocery categories in which it competes, Bloomberg News reports. Among those products are Log Cabin syrups, Duncan Hines baking mixes, Van de Kamp’s frozen fish, and Lender’s bagels.

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The deal will give Hillshire more of a presence in the frozen food aisle, which "is an attractive platform to provide healthy options," Nicholas Fereday, an analyst at Rabobank International in New York, told Bloomberg. "They see this as one of the more sustainable food trends, not a fad."

Hillshire CEO Sean Connolly, who will head the new combined company, told Reuters, "The combined company will be the No. 3 player in frozen. And it gets there with what I believe are our two of the strongest billion dollar brands in frozen, Jimmy Dean and Bird's Eye."

With roughly $4 billion in revenue for 2013, Hillshire — known as Sara Lee Corp. until a 2012 restructuring — has been on a bit of a buying spree, scooping up Van’s Natural Foods for $165 million last month and gourmet jerky maker Golden Island for $35 million in September.

Pinnacle itself bought Unilever’s Wish-Bone salad dressings unit for $580 million last year.

By combining forces, Hillshire and Pinnacle expect to save $140 million annually by merging supply chains.

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