Brunswick, Joele Frank work ConAgra-Ralcorp deal

OMAHA, NE: Brunswick Group is advising ConAgra in its acquisition of Ralcorp Holdings, while Ralcorp has tapped Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher for communications support for the deal.

OMAHA, NE: Brunswick Group is advising ConAgra in its acquisition of Ralcorp Holdings, while Ralcorp has tapped Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher for communications support for the deal. 

ConAgra, maker of brands including Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher's, Marie Callender's, and Banquet, said earlier this month it will buy the private-label food manufacturer for about $5 billion. The deal is expected to close in March 2013, pending Ralcorp shareholder approval.  

The companies have not said whether the Ralcorp name will continue to exist after the deal closes or if layoffs will occur.

In a statement, ConAgra said the companies will “establish a transition team comprised of members of both management teams to prepare for and to oversee the integration of the businesses.”  

The transaction will make ConAgra the largest producer of store-brand foods in North America and the second-largest US packaged-food company by sales. Private-label brands – such as Artisan Fresh at Sam's Club or 365 Everyday Value at Whole Foods – make up about 22% of packaged-food sales in the US, up from 18.4% in 2007, according to market research firm Nielsen.

Ralcorp worked with Joele Frank when ConAgra made its initial takeover bid for the company last year. Brunswick also advised ConAgra at that time. Ralcorp rejected several offers from ConAgra last year as the company focused on spinning off its Post cereals division, which includes brands such as Honey Bunches of Oats, Post Raisin Bran, and Grape-Nuts.  

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