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KKR, Vestar and Centerview complete acquisition of Del Monte Foods

Del Monte Foods Company (NYSE: DLM) has announced the completion of its acquisition by an investor group led by funds affiliated with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR), Vestar Capital Partners (Vestar) and Centerview Capital(Centerview).


Under the terms of the merger agreement, the company’s stockholders will receive USDUSD19.00 per share in cash. The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately USD5.3 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 rumours 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 Wolford’s successor. 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.

Larry Bodner, Del Monte’s current Executive Vice President, Finance, has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Del Monte Foods Company, effective immediately. He succeeds David Meyers, 65, who resigned upon the close of the transaction. Bodner, who joined Del Monte in 2003 and has served in senior finance and investor roles throughout his tenure, is a consumer goods industry finance veteran with more than twenty years of experience. Before joining Del Monte, Bodner held various senior financial positions, including at Procter & Gamble and The Walt Disney Company.

The acquisition was funded via a combination of new debt financing and a significant equity contribution by the Sponsors. The debt financing consisted of a new USD2.7 billion term loan arranged by JP Morgan Securities LLC, Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc., and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated; USD1.3 billion of new senior notes for which BofA Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital, and J.P. Morgan were the initial purchasers; and a new USD750 million ABL Facility arranged by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, JP Morgan Securities LLC, Barclays Capital, and Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc.

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