ConAgra Foods has swooped to buy US own-label group Ralcorp Holdings, a business that rejected a number of takeover bids from the company last year.

The $90-a-share deal, which values Ralcorp at US$6.8bn, was announced today (27 November).

The transaction, expected to be finalised in March, will form "one of the largest packaged food companies in North America", the companies said.

ConAgra will add Ralcorp's range of private-label products to its own-label stable to create the number one store-brand business on the continent. ConAgra's brands include Peter Pan peanut butter and Hunt's tomato ketchup.

Last year, ConAgra had successive takeover bids rebuffed by Ralcorp, which then included branded cereal business Post. Its last, in September last year, was worth $94 a share. Ralcorp decided instead to spin off its cereal brands into a stand-alone listed business called Post Holdings.