ConAgra Foods and Ralcorp Holdings announced that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which ConAgra Foods will acquire Ralcorp, the largest manufacturer of private label food in the U.S. Under the terms of the agreement, Ralcorp shareholders will receive $90.00 per share in cash for each outstanding share of common stock held, representing a 28.2% premium to the closing price of Ralcorp’s common stock on November 26, 2012, and a 24.9% premium to the average closing price of Ralcorp’s common stock for the 30 trading days ending November 26, 2012. The transaction is valued at approximately $6.8 billion, including the assumption of debt.
This transaction creates one of the largest packaged food companies in North America, with sales of approximately $18 billion annually and more than 36,000 employees. It will also position ConAgra Foods as the largest private label packaged food business in North America, with combined private label sales of approximately $4.5 billion.
Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods said, “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Ralcorp after a period of collaborative dialogue between the two companies. Ralcorp is already the largest private label food company in the U.S. and is well positioned for future growth. The acquisition of Ralcorp is a logical and exciting step for ConAgra Foods. Adding Ralcorp provides us with a much larger presence in the attractive and growing private label segment and accelerates our Recipe for Growth strategy. The transaction will allow us to apply our scale and combined operational expertise to this important growth area, and will strengthen our position as one of the leading food companies in North America. We believe the balanced combination of our very significant branded food business, the largest private label food business in North America, and our important commercial food businesses, will enable ConAgra Foods to deliver even greater value and innovation to our customers and consumers, and sustainable profitable growth to our shareholders. We look forward to working with Ralcorp’s experienced and talented team to capitalize on opportunities and create value for shareholders, and to welcoming Ralcorp’s employees to the ConAgra Foods family.”
Kevin J. Hunt, chief executive officer and president of Ralcorp, said, “We are proud of Ralcorp’s track record of shareholder value creation and view this transaction as the culmination of those efforts. This combination delivers immediate and compelling cash value to our shareholders and benefits to our customers and employees. We believe the two companies are a great fit, and our employees will benefit as part of a larger diversified organization with the necessary scale and resources to be a leader in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace. On behalf of the Ralcorp Board and management team, we thank our dedicated employees for their continued hard work, which has enabled us to grow Ralcorp to a position of strength with our many private label offerings across both retail and commercial channels. We look forward to joining with ConAgra Foods to complete this exciting transaction and capitalize on our future growth opportunities.”
Strong Strategic Rationale
The acquisition of Ralcorp adds to ConAgra Foods’ existing private label business of approximately $950 million to create the largest private label packaged food business in North America, with approximately $4.5 billion in combined annual private label sales. Ralcorp fits well with ConAgra Foods’ Recipe for Growth strategy, set 18 months ago, which includes expansion in the private label segment, growth in its core business and adjacencies, and expansion internationally. According to industry analysts, private label now represents 18% of sales in the packaged food market in the U.S. and has consistently demonstrated growth in excess of the overall food market over time. ConAgra Foods’ combination with Ralcorp creates an enhanced platform that will allow ConAgra Foods to capitalize on, and contribute to, that compelling long-term growth trend while generating significant efficiencies.
Ralcorp has strengthened its leadership position in private label through recent strategic acquisitions and enhanced customer relationships. The two companies’ portfolios are a complementary fit, with very little overlap in terms of offerings. Ralcorp’s leading private label offerings include cereal, pasta, crackers, jellies and jams, syrups, frozen waffles, and more. Ralcorp’s total annual sales of approximately $4.3 billion also include a branded and commercial / foodservice portfolio.
The combined company will have significant operating capabilities across its branded, private label and commercial / foodservice businesses, including:
- A robust Sales and Marketing function that drives top-line growth
- A strong Research, Quality and Innovation platform
- A management team with deep industry experience and strong talent across the organization
- A core understanding of delivering value to the customer and consumer
- A consumer and shopper insights-driven focus
- Procurement and risk management expertise
- Well-developed productivity capabilities and experience with complex supply chains
With Ralcorp, ConAgra Foods will have a balanced portfolio with a stronger growth profile. The transaction is also expected to increase ConAgra Foods’ importance to customers and consumers, with product offerings across a wide range of price points, segments and channels. The enhanced breadth and depth of the combined portfolio is expected to allow ConAgra Foods to build deeper customer relationships and drive additional category growth.
Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods, added, “Clearly, consumer dynamics have changed since the recession and we expect growth in private label food to continue to outpace growth in branded food. At the same time, we remain very proud of and fully committed to our brands, which will remain the largest part of our business and are found in 97% of America’s households. We believe our combination of branded, private label and commercial offerings, supported by leading functional capabilities, represents a unique and balanced approach that allows us to address the full range of customer and consumer requirements and adapt to the changing demands of the food industry.”