ConAgra Brands today (1 June) declined to comment on a report it has made an approach to buy US peer Pinnacle Foods.

According to Reuters, which quoted unnamed “sources familiar with the matter”, Conagra’s approach to Pinnacle Foods “took place in the last few weeks”. However, the sources said “there is no certainty that Pinnacle Foods will choose to engage, or that Conagra will pursue a potential deal further”.

A Conagra spokesperson declined to discuss the report today, telling just-food: “We don’t comment on rumours or speculation.”

Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow said a deal would lead to “enormous” synergies over time.

Moskow said he thought Conagra would be “willing to pay a significant premium” to land Pinnacle.

Shares of Pinnacle were up 5.91% in pre-market trading today to US$65.99 – a 52-week high – to follow on yesterday’s 2.74% gain following the Reuters report.

Pinnacle had not responded to just-food’s invitation to comment at the time of publication.

Last March, Conagra, owner of Chef Boyardee pasta, Hunt’s ketchup and Reddi-wip, said its annual underlying earnings could be higher than it had previously forecast – but cautioned its full-year sales could come in lower than it had expected.

Earlier this week, J.M. Smucker said it had struck a deal to buy the Wesson cooking oil brand from Conagra for around $285m.