Del Monte Foods Company (NYSE: DLM) today announced the completion of its acquisition by an investor group led by funds affiliated with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (“KKR”), Vestar Capital Partners (“Vestar”) and Centerview Capital, L.P. (“Centerview”) – collectively the “Sponsors.” Under the terms of the merger agreement, the company’s stockholders will receive $19.00 per share in cash. The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $5.3 billion. Shareholders voted to approve the transaction on March 7, 2011. The price per share represents a 40 percent premium over the average closing price during the three months prior to market rumors last fall.
Del Monte common stock will cease trading on the New York Stock Exchange before the opening of the market on March 9, 2011. Under private ownership, the company’s common stock will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Richard G. Wolford, 66, the company’s Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, who has successfully led the company since 1997, retired from Del Monte in conjunction with the close of the transaction.
Neil Harrison, 58, has been named interim CEO, effective immediately. The Sponsors have commenced a search for Mr. Wolford’s successor. Mr. Harrison, currently a Senior Advisor at Vestar, brings three decades of experience in the global food industry and in branded consumer products to Del Monte. Prior to joining Vestar, he was the Chairman and CEO of Birds Eye Foods Inc., a former Vestar portfolio company. During his tenure at Birds Eye, he led critical investments in marketing and advertising, R&D and new product development, and drove significant growth at the company. Mr. Harrison is also a former President and CEO of Heinz North America and he has held executive positions at Miller Brewing Company, PepsiCo, Inc., General Foods Corporation, and Unilever PLC.
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