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Pinnacle acquiring Wish-Bone brand from Unilever for $580M

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Pinnacle CEO Bob Gamgort, center, with the company's leadership, rings the opening bell to celebrate the company's IPO.
Pinnacle CEO Bob Gamgort, center, with the company's leadership, rings the opening bell to celebrate the company's IPO. - (NYSE)

Parsippany-based Pinnacle Foods today announced it will acquire the Wish-Bone salad dressings business from Unilever PLC in a $580 million deal.

Pinnacle said in its announcement it will fund the acquisition with cash on hand and new debt. The acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Unilever's North American operations are based in Englewood Cliffs.

According to the announcement, Wish-Bone is a leading salad dressing brand, holding the No. 1 share position in the Italian segment of the category and the No. 3 position overall. Annual sales of the brand total approximately $190 million, according to the release.

Pinnacle is being advised exclusively by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the transaction.

In a prepared statement, CEO Bob Gamgort said, "The acquisition of Wish-Bone is a perfect fit with our successful strategy of reinvigorating iconic brands. In addition to enabling significant cost synergies and tax benefits, the transaction enhances our ability to offer consumers meal solutions and recipe ideas across our broad portfolio of brands."

Pinnacle raised $627 million in its April IPO earlier this year, and completed a debt refinancing the same month.

Digital content editor Joe Ross is @joeross on Twitter.

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