Timeline: The story of ConAgra's pursuit of Ralcorp

By Michelle Russell | 27 November 2012

just-food takes a look at the journey from the initial bid by ConAgra to the final deal.

just-food takes a look at the journey from the initial bid by ConAgra to the final deal.

This morning (27 November) saw the announcement that ConAgra Foods finally acquired US own-label group Ralcorp Holdings, a business that rejected a number of takeover bids from the company last year. Here, just-food takes a look at the journey from the initial bid by ConAgra to the final deal.

May 2011 - Ralcorp Holdings indicates it received and rejected a takeover approach from an unnamed bidder in March. The company's shares jump 12% after CNBC says ConAgra Foods had made a written approach to buy the business.

May 2011 - In a filing with the US securities exchange, ConAgra said it was communicating a revised US$4.9bn offer directly to Ralcorp shareholders in a bid to get the group's board to "engage with us" to "negotiate a combination on a collective basis".

May 2011 - Ralcorp turns down ConAgra Foods' $4.9bn takeover bid for the business. ConAgra claimed the offer represented a "compelling premium" for Ralcorp shareholders, but Ralcorp chairman William Stiritz said his company had a "proven track-record" of "delivering superior results and shareholder value" and would continue to generate returns for investors.

June 2011 - ConAgra tells investors it is looking to add to the company's portfolio both organically and internationally, and that it remains interested in purchasing Ralcorp. "As we have said before we continue to believe this company [Ralcorp] would be a good strategic and financial fit for ConAgra Foods," said CEO Gary Rodkin.

August 2011 - Ralcorp rejects ConAgra's latest $94-per-share offer, claiming that it was "not in the best interests of the company and its shareholders". In rejecting the offer, Ralcorp insisted its plan to spin off its branded cereal business Post Foods from its private-label operations, would unlock "additional significant value for our shareholders".

August 2011 - ConAgra expresses its disappointment at Ralcorp's rapid dismissal of its latest takeover offer. "We are extremely disappointed by Ralcorp's summary rejection of our strong proposal and its repeated refusals to explore this opportunity for its shareholders," Rodkin said.

September 2011 - ConAgra gives takeover target Ralcorp a deadline to hold talks on its $5.2bn bid or it will walk away from the table.

September 2011 - The offer is subsequently rejected by Ralcorp. As a result, ConAgra then withdraws its bid.

November 2011ConAgra Foods agreee to buy US private-label firm National Pretzel Co. for an undisclosed sum.

January 2012 - ConAgra acquires Del Monte Canada from private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners for an undislcosed sum.

April 2012ConAgra purchases US firm Odom's Tennesse Pride, which makes a range of frozen and chilled breakfast products.

May 2012ConAgra acquires the US private label pita chips business from Kangaroo Brands for an undisclosed sum.

July 2012 - ConAgra buys the frozen meals business of Unilever in North America including the Bertolli and P.F. Chang's brands.

November 2012 - ConAgra swoops to buy Ralcorp Holdings in a $90-a-share deal, valuing Ralcorp at $6.8bn. The transaction, expected to be finalised in March, will form "one of the largest packaged food companies in North America", the companies said.

Sectors: Bakery, Cereal, Chilled foods, Condiments, dressings & sauces, Dried foods, Frozen, Mergers & acquisitions, Private label, Snacks

Companies: ConAgra Foods, Ralcorp Holdings, Unilever, Bertolli

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