Conagra: To Acquire Pinnacle Foods For 10.9 Billion USD

Chicago (IL) / Parsippany (NJ). (cag / pf) ConAgra Brands Inc. and Pinnacle Foods Inc. announced that their boards of directors have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which Conagra Brands will acquire all outstanding shares of Pinnacle Foods in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately USD 10.9 billion, including Pinnacle Foods’ outstanding net debt. Under the terms of the transaction, Pinnacle Foods shareholders will receive USD 43.11 per share in cash and 0.6494 shares of Conagra Brands common stock for each share of Pinnacle Foods held. The implied price of USD 68.00 per Pinnacle Foods share is based on the volume-weighted average price of Conagra Brands’ stock for the five days ended June 21, 2018. The purchase price reflects an adjusted EBITDA multiple of 15.8x, based on Pinnacle Foods’ estimated fiscal year 2018 results excluding synergies, and 12.1x adjusted EBITDA including run-rate cost synergies.

The combination of two growing portfolios of iconic brands will serve as a catalyst to accelerate value creation for shareholders. The transaction will enhance Conagra Brands’ multi-year transformation plan and expand its presence and capabilities in its most strategic categories, including frozen foods and snacks. With annual net sales in excess of USD 3 billion, Pinnacle Foods’ portfolio of frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable products includes such well-known brands as Birds Eye, Duncan Hines, Earth Balance, EVOL, Erin’s, Gardein, Glutino, Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips, Hungry-Man, Log Cabin, Tim’s Cascade Snacks, Udi’s, Vlasic and Wish-Bone, among others. Based on both companies’ latest fiscal year results, pro forma net sales would have been approximately USD 11 billion.

«The acquisition of Pinnacle Foods is an exciting next step for Conagra Brands. After three years of transformative work to create a pure-play, branded food company, we are well-positioned to accelerate the next wave of change,» said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Conagra Brands. «The addition of Pinnacle Foods’ leading brands in the attractive frozen foods and snacks categories will create a tremendous opportunity for us to further leverage our proven innovation approach, brand-building capabilities, and deep customer relationships. With greater scale across leading, iconic brands, an unwavering focus on driving profitable growth, and a strong balance sheet and cash flow, we are creating a tremendous platform to drive meaningful shareholder value.»

«Today’s transaction provides Pinnacle Foods shareholders with substantial and immediate value, as well as the opportunity to participate in the significant upside potential of the combined company,» said Pinnacle Foods chief executive officer Mark Clouse. «Because of our employees’ incredible work, Pinnacle’s total shareholder return is approximately 275 percent since our IPO, and today marks an important milestone in the company’s journey. The portfolios and capabilities of both enterprises are impressive and complementary. We look forward to working through a seamless transition with the Conagra Brands team.»

Compelling Strategic and Financial Benefits

  • Complementary Portfolio of Iconic Brands: The combined company will have a portfolio of leading, iconic brands within attractive domains such as frozen + refrigerated meals and snacks + sweet treats.
  • Enhanced Ability to Capitalize on Trends in Frozen Foods: The combination will bring together complementary portfolios in the large, growing and on-trend frozen foods category, positioning the combined company to accelerate innovation and benefit from long-term tailwinds.
  • Compelling Growth Profile: Conagra Brands and Pinnacle Foods are two of the fastest-growing companies in the consumer packaged foods industry by consumption, and Conagra Brands expects continued momentum based on the enhanced scale and new opportunities to partner with customers that the transaction will provide.
  • EPS Accretive: On a percentage basis, Conagra Brands expects the transaction to be low single-digit accretive to adjusted EPS in the fiscal year ended May 2020 and high single-digit accretive to adjusted EPS in the fiscal year ended May 2022.
  • Significant Synergy Opportunities: Conagra Brands expects to achieve approximately USD 215 million in annual run-rate cost synergies by the end of fiscal year 2022, with one-time cash costs to achieve the synergies estimated at approximately USD 355 million, inclusive of expected capital expenditures of approximately USD 150 million.
  • Financing Maintains Solid Investment Grade Credit Rating and Dividend Rate: The transaction is expected to be financed by Conagra Brands equity issued to Pinnacle Foods shareholders, new transaction debt and incremental cash proceeds from a public equity offering and/or divestitures.
  • Proven Integration Capabilities: In recent years, Conagra Brands has established a proven track record of executing strategic transactions. The two organizations share complementary portfolios, supply chains, and results-oriented cultures, which are expected to facilitate integration.

Transaction Details

Under the terms of the agreement, each share of Pinnacle Foods common stock will be converted into the right to receive USD 43.11 per share in cash and 0.6494 shares of Conagra Brands common stock.

Conagra Brands has secured USD 9.0 billion in fully committed bridge financing from affiliates of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The USD 10.9 billion purchase price is expected to be financed with USD 3.0 billion of Conagra Brands equity issued to Pinnacle Foods shareholders and USD 7.9 billion in cash consideration funded with USD 7.3 billion of transaction debt and approximately USD 600 million of incremental cash proceeds from a public equity offering and/or divestitures. On a pro forma basis, Pinnacle Foods shareholders are expected to own approximately 16 percent of the combined company, assuming issuance of the incremental equity to the public.  Following the transaction, Conagra Brands’ pro forma net debt-to-EBITDA ratio is expected to be approximately 5.0x. Conagra Brands is committed to maintaining a solid investment grade credit rating and targeting a debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 3.5x.

Conagra Brands intends to maintain its quarterly dividend at the current annual rate of USD 0.85 per share during fiscal 2019. In the future, it expects modest dividend increases while it focuses on deleveraging, subject to the approval of its board of directors. The company also plans to repurchase shares under its authorized program only at times and in amounts as is consistent with the prioritization of achieving its leverage targets.

Pinnacle Foods will continue to pay its quarterly dividend at the current annual rate of USD 1.30 per share until the transaction is completed.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of calendar 2018, subject to the approval of Pinnacle Foods shareholders, the receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.


Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners are acting as financial advisors to Conagra Brands, and Jones Day is acting as its legal advisor. Evercore and Credit Suisse are acting as financial advisors to Pinnacle Foods and Cravath Swaine + Moore LLP is acting as its legal advisor. Morgan Stanley and Rothschild + Co. provided strategic advice to Pinnacle Foods.

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