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Hillshire looks beyond meat with Birds Eye, Vlasic

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm •  Published: May 12, 2014
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In a note to investors about the acquisition, J.P. Morgan analyst Ken Goldman declared the "strategic rationale unclear."

"Although we can see some logic behind the combination of lunchmeat and pickles, along with waffles and syrup, the connections seem a bit thinner than what we hope for in most food transactions," he wrote.

Connolly declined to specify the scope of the layoffs expected as a result of the acquisition. But he noted that the deal should generate $140 million in annual savings from consolidated manufacturing and other overhead costs.

Each share of Parsippany, New Jersey-based Pinnacle Foods Inc. common stock will be exchanged for $18 in cash and 0.5 shares of Hillshire Brands Co. common stock. The companies said the implied purchase price is $36.02 per share, an 18 percent premium to Pinnacle's Friday closing price.

Including Pinnacle's outstanding debt, they put the deal's total value at about $6.6 billion.

The combined company will use the Hillshire Brands name and be based in Chicago. Connolly will serve as its president and CEO.

Both companies' boards unanimously approved the acquisition, which is expected to close by September. It still needs shareholder approval. The companies said investment firm Blackstone, which owns a 51 percent stake of Pinnacle's outstanding stock, agreed to the deal.

Hillshire anticipates that it will maintain its annual dividend of 70 cents per share and suspend a previously announced stock repurchase program.

Pinnacle's shares rose 15 percent to $34.92 and Hillshire's shares fell 6 percent to $34.82.