Vlasic Foods International (OTC Bulletin Board: VLFIQ) today announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., approved bidding procedures regarding the sale of its namesake “Vlasic” pickles and condiments and “Open Pit” barbecue sauce businesses. The Company announced January 29th that it agreed to sell the businesses to H.J. Heinz Company for $195 million, subject to closing adjustments and subject to higher and better offers via the Court supervised competitive sale process. That same day, Vlasic Foods and its domestic subsidiaries also announced that it voluntarily filed petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in order to implement the terms of the Heinz sale pursuant to section 363.
The order approving the bidding procedures provides that competing bids must be submitted by March 27, 2001. The parties agreed to a $1 million reduction in the break-up fee to be paid to Heinz in the event the business is sold to a competing bidder. That fee will now be $4 million. A hearing on the sale is scheduled for March 30th in Wilmington.
David Pauker, managing director of Goldin Associates, a turnaround manager retained by Vlasic Foods to assist in implementing a financial restructuring, said, “We are pleased the Court has set March 27th as the deadline for competitive bids. This timeframe will allow potential bidders ample time to conduct due diligence and formulate bids.” Interested parties should contact Dan Motulsky at Lazard Freres, Vlasic Foods’ investment bankers, to obtain information on the Company and the bidding procedures.
The Company continues to consider options respecting the reorganization or sale of its frozen food businesses, which manufacture and market more than $400 million of frozen dinners, entrees and breakfasts under the “Hungry-Man”, “Great Starts”, “Swanson” and “Fun Feast” brands.
Forward Looking Statement
This release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The Company believes the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements, including those relating to planned divestitures, financial restructuring, financing, and the strategic review process are reasonable. However, any of the assumptions could be inaccurate, and therefore there can be no assurance that the forward- looking statements contained in this release will prove to be accurate. Additional information that could cause actual results to vary materially from the results anticipated may be found in the Company’s most recent Form 10-K and other reports filed with the Securities Exchange Commission. Furthermore, the Company disclaims any obligation or intent to update any such factors or forward-looking statements to disclaim future events and developments.