Major US manufacturers Conagra Brands and Pinnacle Foods have reportedly kick-started discussions over combining their businesses.

The companies, home to brands like Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn and Gardein vegetarian foods, were reported last summer to have been in a talks over a deal, although those discussions were said to have broken down over price.

Newswires Reuters and Bloomberg yesterday (21 June) reported Conagra and Pinnacle had begun fresh negotiations. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg said Conagra had approached Pinnacle to resume talks.

In April, activist investor Jana Partners acquired just over 9% of Pinnacle and said it would hold talks with the company’s board on “value-creation measures”, which for the fund included “evaluating alternatives to realise [Pinnacle’s] strategic value, including a sale or other consolidation opportunities potentially available to the [company] as a result of its scale position in the frozen foods sector”.

As well as Gardein, Pinnacle’s frozen-food assets include the Birds Eye brand in the US. Conagra’s brand portfolio includes Banquet frozen foods.