Acquisition-hungry US food group Post Holdings has today (17 April) announced its biggest takeover – an agreement to buy egg-to-dairy supplier Michael Foods for US$2.45bn.

Post, which has made a number of acquisitions in the last two years, has struck a deal to buy Michael Foods from affiliates of private-equity groups GS Capital Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners and other owners.

The move follows Post’s deals in sectors including pasta and sports nutrition and will further diversify the Grape Nuts owner away from its core breakfast cereal business, which operates in a stagnant sector in the US.

There had been speculation in recent days that Post was close to an agreement with Michael Foods’ owners. US meat group Tyson Foods was also said to be interested in the business.

Post described Michael Foods, the owner of brands including Papetti’s eggs and Crystal Farms cheese, as a “leading producer of value-added food products”.

The company said Michael Foods, acquired by GS Capital Partners for $1.7bn in 2010, “holds leading market positions in attractive categories including value-added egg products, refrigerated potato products and cheese and other dairy case products”. Post said Michael Foods had seen its “adjusted EBITDA” increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5.3% since 2008.

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Bill Stiritz, Post’s chairman and CEO, said: “This acquisition is exactly what we look for in an investment.”

Michael Foods CEO Jim Dwyer, who is set to stay on with the company, said: “We believe our business will benefit from Post’s portfolio management approach of effectively and efficiently investing in profitable growth and margin expansion.”

Before moving into Goldman Sachs‘ hands, Michael Foods was owned by affiliates of Thomas H. Lee Partners for seven years. Thomas H. Lee Partners kept a 20% stake in the business.

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