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Del Monte Pacific to buy US food unit DMF for $1.67bn

The acquired business will be managed under a separate platform and will be overseen by a US-based CEO and management team.

Singapore-listed Del Monte Pacific (DMPL) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the consumer food business of the US-based Del Monte Foods (DMF) for $1.67bn to expand beverage and culinary products.

The deal will reunite DMPL with US parent brands and opens access to well-established and profitable US packaged food market. It will add net sales of more than $1.8bn and adjusted EBITDA of about $180m to DMPL.

DMF, which posted sales and EBITDA of $1.8bn and $178m respectively for the fiscal year ended on 28 April 2013, has extensive presence in the US market with its canned fruit, vegetable, tomato and broth businesses.

Under the terms of the deal, DMPL will acquire US brands like Del Monte, Contadina, S&W and College Inn and certain assets, apart from assuming certain liabilities related to DMF’s consumer food business in the US. It also includs equity interests in certain South American subsidiaries from DMF.

Rolando Gapud, chairman of the board of DMPL, said: “Prior to this acquisition, the US was one of few key markets where our company did not have a direct presence nor have its own brands.

“We also believe that DMF’s consumer food business provides an attractive platform to offer certain products appealing to the large and fast growing Hispanic and Asian American population in the US.”

The acquired business will be managed under a separate platform and will be overseen by a US-based CEO and management team.

The operating organisation of DMF’s consumer food division is expected to be largely transferred to DMFL together with the assets and operations of the business.

Perella Weinberg Partners served as lead financial advisor to DMPL in connection with the transaction.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.