Hillshire expects transaction to close next month

Hillshire expects transaction to close next month

US food maker Hillshire Brands has struck a deal to buy waffle and pancake manufacturer Van's Natural Foods from private-equity firm Catterton Partners for US$165m.

Hillshire, the owner of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausages, is set to add a business selling a range of breakfast foods, including gluten-free options, to its portfolio.

Van's is expected to generate revenues of approximately US$60m in 2014, Hillshire said. Hillshire president and CEO Sean Connolly claimed the Van's brand was a "terrific addition to our portfolio".

Connolly said: "Not only does it expand our presence in the frozen category, it also gives us a proven health and wellness brand with extendability beyond frozen."

Catterton, which owns food manufacturers including confectioner Ferrara Candy Co., and snack firm Beanitos, acquired Van's in 2006.

Marc Magliacano, a partner at Catterton, said the private-equity firm and Van's had created "a distinctive market positioning" for the business. He argued the company would "capitalise on new opportunities" at Hillshire.

Eric Kufel, Van's CEO, claimed the company's presence "in the large and growing wellness consumer lifestyle segment is a perfect complement to Hillshire Brands' product portfolio".

Click here for editor Dean Best's take on the recent M&A activity in the US food sector.