Blackstone acquires Pinnacle Foods for $2.16 billion

by Staff
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MOUNTAIN LAKES, N.J. — The Blackstone Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pinnacle Foods Group Inc. for approximately $2.16 billion in cash. Under the merger plan, an affiliate of The Blackstone Group is expected to merge with Crunch Holdings Corp., the direct owner of Pinnacle Foods.

Roger Deromedi, former chief executive officer of Kraft Foods Inc., will assume the role of chairman of the board following the close of the transaction.

Crunch Equity Holding, L.L.C., the owner of Crunch Holdings Corp., is itself owned by affiliates of J.P. Morgan Partners, L.L.C., J.W. Childs Associates, L.P. and CDM Group, an investment company controlled by C. Dean Metropoulos, current chairman of the board of Pinnacle Foods.

The owners of Crunch Equity Holding and the board of directors of Pinnacle Foods and Crunch Holding Corp. have unanimously approved the transaction.

Pinnacle Foods produces a number of consumer brands, including Duncan Hines baking mixes, Vlasic Pickles, Hungry Man and Swanson frozen dinners, Armour canned meat and Lender’s bagels, among others.

Pinnacle Foods has expanded its profile over the last several years, most recently acquiring Aurora Foods in March 2004 and Dial’s Armour food products division in March 2006.

"We build companies for the long term," Mr. Metropoulos said. "We are very proud of what we have accomplished at Pinnacle Foods over the past three and a half years and proud that both strategic and financial buyers have had great success in buying business we have rebuilt."

The deal is the second acquisition for New York-based Blackstone in less than a week. On Feb. 9, Blackstone completed its $23 billion purchase of Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Trust.

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