SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) -- Del Monte Foods ( DLM) has agreed to be acquired for $4 billion in cash by a group of private equity investors including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

The purchasing group, which also includes Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Partners, will pay $19.00 a share for the San Francisco-based food and pet products company. The buyers will also assume about $1.3 billion in debt.

The purchase price represents a 6% premium to Del Monte's closing share price of $17.99 on Wednesday.

However, the stock surged last Friday following speculation that Del Monte would be acquired, and Del Monte noted in a news release that the deal price represents a premium of about 40% over its average closing share price in the three months before Friday.

The Del Monte deal is the largest private equity acquisition of the year, ahead of Extended Stay, which in May agreed to a $3.92 billion buyout, the Associated Press reported.

In the news release, Del Monte said it would keep its headquarters in San Francisco following the deal.

Under the agreement, Del Monte may solicit alternative proposals from other potential buyers through Jan. 8, 2011, and the company said its board and advisers would actively do so. If the company does not find a better offer, the current deal should close by the end of March, according to the news release.

Del Monte also announced Thursday that it no longer planned to host a conference call to discuss its fiscal 2011 second-quarter results on Thursday, Dec. 2.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.

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