Norwegian conglomerate Orkla, which is reshaping its business to focus on consumer goods, is to buy local food group Rieber & Søn.

Orkla has struck a deal to buy the Rieber family’s 90.1% stake in Rieber & Søn. The agreement values Rieber & Søn at NOK6.1bn (US$1.03bn), on a debt-free basis.

Rieber & Søn has operations in the Nordic region, central Europe and Russia – three areas in which Orkla already sells products from pizza to chocolate.

Orkla said today (20 August) the deal needed approval from the European Commission and anti-trust officials in Russia. It expects the takeover to be complete in the first quarter of next year.

After completing the transaction with the Rieber family, Orkla will then launch a mandatory offer to buy out the rest of the company’s shareholders and delist it from the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Orkla announced last year it would focus on FMCG. This spring, Orkla stunned the market with news that its CEO and the head of its consumer goods business had left the company. Analysts speculated Orkla’s owners had grown frustrated with the progress the company was making to focus on FMCG.

Orkla said today the deal for Rieber & Søn was “a significant step towards becoming a pure-play branded consumer goods company”.

Click here to read comment from Orkla CEO Åge Korsvold on the acquisition, and here to read analysts thoughts on the deal.