Under the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, General Mills will continue to operate the Green Giant business in Europe and some other export markets under license from B&G Foods.
The sale “reinforces General Mills' strategic priority to shape its portfolio for growth, focusing its resources on the brands, categories, and geographic markets that have the greatest future growth opportunities”, said the firm in a statement.
The Green Giant (frozen vegetables) and Le Sueur (canned vegetables) businesses included in the proposed transaction (the US, Canada, and select other markets) generated annual net sales of c.$585m in fiscal 2015.
New Jersey-based B&G Foods - which is best known for brands such as Pirate's Booty, Grandma’s Molasses, Ortega and Cream of Wheat - has grown sales from $467m in 2008 to $848m in 2014 through a stream of acquisitions of unloved brands often from larger players unable to give them the attention they deserved.
"The acquisition marks our entry into the frozen food category, which we believe will open many future growth opportunities," said B&G Foods CEO Bob Cantwell, who told Fortune magazine that B&G intends to refresh the packaging and spend double what General Mills had allocated for marketing within the first 12 months of taking over.
Rothschild acted as financial advisor to General Mills on the transaction.