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Hillshire Brands snaps up Van’s Natural Foods in $165m deal

By Elaine WATSON , 22-Apr-2014

Hillshire Brands has struck a $165m deal to buy frozen breakfast and snack foods maker Van's Natural Foods from private equity firm Catterton Partners.

Van’s, which is expected to generate revenues of around $60m in calendar year 2014, will become part of Hillshire Brands' Retail segment, which includes brands such as Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park.  

The deal is expected to close in May pending regulatory clearance.

"The Van's brand is a terrific addition to our portfolio," said Hillshire Brands CEO Sean Connolly. "Not only does it expand our presence in the frozen category, it also gives us a proven health and wellness brand with extendability beyond frozen."

Van's - which started as a beachside restaurant in Southern California and started producing food for the retail market in the late 1980s - was acquired by Catteron Partners in 2006. It specializes in gluten-free and allergy-friendly frozen breakfast and snack foods including waffles, pancakes, cereal, crackers and snack bars, and is now based in Phoenix, Arizona.   

Chicago-based Hillshire Brands - best known for its Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, State Fair, Aidells and Gallo brands -  was created in summer 2012 after Sara Lee spun off if its international coffee arm.

The firm, which is on a mission to become the ‘most innovative meat-centric food company in the US’, generated revenues of c. $4bn in fiscal 2013.