ConAgra Foods has agreed to acquire Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s Home Menu frozen meals businesses from Unilever for $265m, as part of a strategy to continue its growth in the frozen foods category, the company has said.
ConAgra already has several major frozen foods brands, including Marie Callender’s, Banquet, Healthy Choice and Kid Cuisine. The company said that the acquisition of Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s would enhance its frozen portfolio by bringing strong brands in Italian and Asian foods into the mix.
"We'll use our extensive frozen food and innovation capabilities to grow these great brands even further," CEO of ConAgra Foods Gary Rodkin said in a statement. "Just as our acquisition earlier this calendar year of Odom's Tennessee Pride extended our reach into frozen breakfasts, the addition of Bertolli and P.F. Chang's brands can bring us new consumers and new eating occasions."
The transaction is subject to regulatory review but, when complete, will include a license for the use of the Bertolli brand name and the transfer of Unilever’s existing license with P.F. Chang’s for use of the P.F. Chang’s Home Menu brand name.
The deal does not include the Unilever facility in Owensboro, Kentucky where the frozen meals are currently produced, and Unilever with continue to use the Bertolli brand name for its pasta sauce business.
Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s frozen foods businesses had annual sales of around $300m in 2011.
The deal will be the fifth acquisition in the past 12 months for ConAgra Foods, which has also acquired National Pretzel Company, Del Monte Canada, Odom's Tennessee Pride and the pita chip business of Kangaroo Brands during the period.
The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012.
Unilever’s sale of the frozen foods business is in line with a global strategy to exit the segment. In 2006, it sold its European frozen foods operations to private equity group Permira.