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The Supply Side briefs: Hillshire, TreeHouse buy natural foods businesses

• Hillshire Brands to acquire Van’s Natural Foods
Hillshire Brands has signed an agreement to acquire Van’s Natural Foods from private equity firm Catterton Partners for $165 million.

Van’s Natural Foods is based in Phoenix and is a “better-for-you” brand in frozen breakfast and snack foods including waffles, pancakes, cereal, crackers and snack bars. Van’s frozen breakfast and snack foods are available at grocery stores, mass merchandise stores and natural food retailers nationwide.

“The Van’s brand is a terrific addition to our portfolio,” said Sean Connolly, CEO of Hillshire Brands. “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 has an expected net revenue of $60 million this year. The deal is expected to close in May, pending regulatory clearance.

Van’s Natural Foods will become part of Hillshires’ retail segment, pairing with brands such as Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park. Van’s Natural Foods’ management will continue to lead the business.

“As a leader in branded foods including breakfast products, Hillshire Brands is an ideal strategic partner for Van’s,” said Eric Kufel, CEO, Van’s Natural Foods. “Our positioning in the large and growing wellness consumer lifestyle segment is a perfect complement to Hillshire Brands’ product portfolio.”

Hillshire Brands is a supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with a local sales office in Bentonville.

• TreeHouse to acquire Protenergy Natural Foods
TreeHouse Foods announced plans to acquire Protenergy Natural Foods, a developer and manufacturer of private label broth, soups and gravies. TreeHouse has agreed to pay Canadian private equity firm Whitecastle Investments, $150 million in cash for the business, subject to an adjustment for working capital, according to the press release on Monday, April 21.

TreeHouse expects the deal will impact earnings by about 6 cents this year, and add between 11 cents and 14 cents to its 2015 earnings. The transaction is expected to close late in the second quarter of 2014, and is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

TreeHouse said it will finance the deal through borrowings under its existing credit facility. Following the acquisition, TreeHouse anticipates pro forma 2014 sales of approximately $2.7 billion.

"We are delighted to welcome Protenergy Natural Foods and its innovative capabilities in premium food and beverage products to the TreeHouse family," said Sam K. Reed, chairman and CEO of TreeHouse Foods. "The acquisition of Protenergy is expected to expand our existing packaging capabilities and enables us to offer customers a full range of soup products, both wet and dry.

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TreeHouse Foods is a supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with a local sales office in Rogers.

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