Condiment manufacturer Mizkan Group will acquire Unilever’s Ragu and Bertolli pasta sauce brands for $2.15 billion in an all-cash deal.
Mizkan, which aims to expand beyond its home market in Japan, also picks up two North American manufacturing facilities (a sauce processing and packaging facility in Owensboro, KY and a tomato processing facility in Stockton, CA) in the transaction. The move follows Mizkan’s recent acquisitions of Holland House and Border Foods.
Ragu is the top-selling pasta sauce in the US. The two brands bring in combined annual sales of $600 million, with room for growth, as the North American pasta sauce market is currently valued at approximately $2.3 billion.
Unilever plans to use the proceeds to fund its recent buyout of share rights held by family trusts tied to company co-founder William Hesketh Lever, as well as to fund bolt-on acquisitions. The consumer and foods giant is also looking to sell off SlimFast and has set an asking price of $1.7 billion.