Texas-based private equity firm Hicks Muse has agreed to sell Pinnacle Foods Corp to J P Morgan Partners, the private equity unit of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, in a deal worth US$485m.

J P Morgan, which already owned an 8% stake in Pinnacle, said it intends to use the company as a platform for future acquisitions, reported the Asian Wall Street Journal.

Hicks Muse bought Pinnacle Foods, which makes Swanson frozen foods and Vlasic pickles, out of bankruptcy in May 2001.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.