Private equity to acquire Del Monte Foods for $5.3bn

KKR member says Del Monte has a first-rate brand portfolio and an excellent reputation

A consortium of private equity firms led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) has agreed to acquire San Francisco, California-based Del Monte Foods Company for $5.3bn or $19 per share in cash.

Apart from KKR, the consortium includes private equity firms Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Partners.

KKR member and North American Consumer practice head Simon Brown said that Del Monte has a first-rate brand portfolio and excellent reputation for providing high quality and nutritious products to families and their pets.

"We look forward to working with the company's talented employees and investing in the business as we continue to execute upon Del Monte's proven strategy for growth. Del Monte is a great company, with an excellent strategy, a talented team and a strong future," Brown added.

Del Monte is the owner of pet-food brands like Kibbles 'n Bits, Meow Mix and Milk-Bone. It also has food brands under the Del Monte, Contadina, College Inn and S&W names.

Del Monte Foods, which reported revenue of $3.74bn in fiscal 2010, has been facing intense competition from branded and private-label rivals, although it did not take a hit during the recession.

For KKR, it is also the second pet-food deal of the year, which acquired British pet retailer Pets At Home in January.

The acquisition of Del Monte Foods is among the largest leveraged buyouts this year. It is also one of the biggest consumer-goods takeovers since private equity firm Carlyle Group bought vitamin and nutritional supplements maker NBTY for $3.8bn in cash in July this year.