Blackstone to snap Birds Eye Foods up in $1.3bn cash deal

Private equity titan Blackstone is set to buy Birds Eye Foods through its portfolio firm Pinnacle Foods.<br /><br />Pinnacle Foods, which already owns pancake mixture company Mrs Butterworths, will pay more than $1.3bn (&pound;700m) for the biggest frozen-vegetable firm in the US.<br /><br />Birds Eye is majority owned by private equity firms Vestar Capital Partners, while New York agricultural group Pro-Fac Cooperative owns 40 per cent of the business.<br /><br />The Birds Eye brand has $640m in net sales in the US, with a 25 per cent&nbsp; market share in frozen vegetables.<br /><br />Birds Eye in October had planned an initial public offering of $350m, which it wanted to use to pay down its $700m of long-term debt.<br /><br />Pinnacle Foods was advised by Blackstone, Barclays Capital, BofA Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse. Birds Eye was advised by Centerview Partners and JPMorgan.<br /><br />Pinnacle Foods chief executive said: &ldquo;The transaction provides meaningful opportunities to create value and strengthens our financial position.&rdquo;<br /><br />Blackstone has recently ramped up its deal activity by buying Anheuser-Busch InBev&rsquo;s US theme parks for up to $2.7bn.