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B&G lands specialty foods unit of Unilever in $325M deal

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Parsippany-based B&G Foods announced Friday it entered into a deal with Unilever to buy Culver Specialty Brands in a $325 million deal it said should immediately add to B&G's earnings and cash flow.

Culver Specialty Brands includes the products Mrs. Dash, Baker's Joy, Molly McButter, Sugar Twin, Static Guard and Kleen Guard. The products generated about $90 million in sales in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30. In fiscal 2012, B&G predicts the brands will generate $35 million to $38 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

"Mrs. Dash seasonings have a unique position within the seasonings category, and are very relevant to today's health-conscious consumers," said B&G CEO David Wenner in prepared remarks. "The other brands in the transaction are also consistent with B&G Foods' acquisition strategy of acquiring smaller, high-margin brands."

B&G — which sells shelf-stable foods from brands such as Ortega, Polaner and Emeril's, and more than 70 varieties of B&G pickle and pepper products across the U.S. and Canada — will fund the acquisition with additional debt. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

In recent months, Unilever has been divesting brands in order to get clearance for other deals. In May, the U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement with Unilever and Alberto Culver Co., requiring them to divest two hair-care brands, including Alberto VO5, in order to move forward with their merger. Unilever originally acquired Culver Specialty Brands when it acquired Alberto Culver.

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