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PITTSBURGH -- H.J. Heinz Co. has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by an investment consortium comprised of Berkshire Hathaway, an owner and investor in leading businesses across a variety of industries, and global investment firm 3G Capital Management LLC.
Under the agreement, which was unanimously approved by Heinz’s board of directors, Heinz shareholders will receive $72.50 in cash for each share of common stock they own, in a transaction valued at $28 billion. According to media reports, this acquisition ranks as the largest-ever takeover of a pure-food producer.
"The Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in the global food industry, and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders," said William R. Johnson, chairman, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh-based company. "With Heinz stock recently at an all-time high and 30 consecutive quarters of organic top-line growth, Heinz is being acquired from a position of strength. As a private enterprise, Heinz will have an opportunity to drive further growth and advance our commitment to providing consumers across the globe with great-tasting, nutritious and wholesome products."
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. To maintain Heinz’s values, heritage and community connections, the company’s global headquarters will remain in Pittsburgh, and it will continue its philanthropic support of community initiatives and related investments.
"Heinz has strong, sustainable growth potential based on high quality standards, continuous innovation, excellent management and great-tasting products," noted Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway."Their global success is a testament to the power of investing behind strong brand equities and the strength of their management team and processes."
The transaction will be financed through a combination of cash provided by Berkshire Hathaway, and affiliates of 3G Capital, rollover of existing debt and debt financing that has been committed by J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo. The transaction is subject to approval by Heinz shareholders, receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway owns many well known assets including Dairy Queen and See’s Candies.
This is not New York City-based 3G Capital Management LLC’s first investment in the food-related industry. The investment buyout firm purchased Burger King Holdings Inc. for $3.3 billion in 2010.