PITTSBURGH -- Condiment maker H.J. Heinz Co., known for its ketchup, has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by an investment consortium comprised of Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.
Understanding the need to preserve Heinz's values, heritage and community connections, Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital have pledged to maintain Pittsburgh as its global headquarters, and to fulfill and continue its philanthropic support of community initiatives and related investments.
The transaction is subject to approval by Heinz shareholders, receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.
"The Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in the global food industry and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders," said Heinz chairman, president and CEO William R. Johnson. "We look forward to partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, both greatly respected investors, in what will be an exciting new chapter in the history of Heinz. With Heinz stock recently at an all-time high and 30 consecutive quarters of organic topline growth, Heinz is being acquired from a position of strength. As a private enterprise, Heinz will have an opportunity to drive further growth and advance our commitment to providing consumers across the globe with great tasting, nutritious and wholesome products," added Johnson.
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said, "Heinz has strong, sustainable growth potential based on high quality standards, continuous innovation, excellent management and great tasting products. Their global success is a testament to the power of investing behind strong brand equities and the strength of their management team and processes. We are very pleased to be a part of this partnership."
Alex Behring, managing partner at 3G Capital said, "We have great respect for the Heinz brands and the strong business that management and its employees operate around the world. We approached Heinz to explore how we might work together to expand the value of this storied brand. We fully recognize Heinz's value and heritage and look forward to working together with Heinz's employees, suppliers and customers as we invest in and support the company's ongoing global growth efforts."
The transaction will be financed through a combination of cash provided by Berkshire Hathaway and affiliates of 3G Capital, rollover of existing debt, as well as debt financing that has been committed by J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo.
Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by Heinz's board, Heinz shareholders will receive $72.50 in cash for each share of common stock they own, in a transaction valued at $28 billion, including the assumption of Heinz's outstanding debt. The per share price represents a 20% premium to Heinz's closing share price of $60.48 on Feb.13, 2013, a 19% premium to Heinz's all-time high share price, a 23% premium to the 90-day average Heinz share price and a 30% premium to the one-year average share price.
Berkshire Hathaway owns and invests in leading businesses across a variety of industries, including numerous iconic brands. 3G Capital is a global investment firm focused on long-term value creation, with a particular emphasis on building and expanding great brands and businesses.