Belfast Telegraph

Heinz buys Kraft to create a firm with £18bn turnover

By Josie Clarke

Heinz is set to buy Kraft in a deal that will gather some of the UK's best-known grocery brands within one of the biggest food firms in the world.

The new firm - to be called the Kraft Heinz Company - will become one of the largest food companies in the world with annual revenue in excess of $28bn (£18bn).

It was engineered by Heinz's owner, the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, and billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. Both companies' boards have unanimously approved the deal, which is targeted to close in the second half of the year.

It still requires approval from Kraft shareholders.

Current Heinz shareholders will own 51% of the combined company, with Kraft shareholders owning a 49% stake.

Kraft's high-profile brands are Philadelphia, Dairylea cheese triangles and Capri Sun fruit juice. It also owns Maxwell House coffee.

It is best known in the UK for its controversial takeover of chocolate-maker Cadbury in 2010 for £11.5bn.

In 2012 it announced that Cadbury would become part of its spin-off business Mondelez, alongside other brands such as Trident gum and Oreo biscuits.

Heinz is best known for its beans, or "beanz" as it likes to spell them, and ketchup, HP Sauce and Lea & Perrins. It still uses the "57 sauces" logo despite having more than 5,700 products worldwide - a throwback to founder Henry J Heinz believing it to be a lucky number.

UK consumers are likely to be most familiar with Heinz soup, tinned pasta, mayonnaise and salad cream. It also sells a range of products for babies and toddlers.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Conlumino, said: "In many ways the marriage of Kraft and Heinz is a sound one: the companies complement each other in terms of the brands they own, the geographies they operate in, and there are undoubtedly synergistic cost savings that can be found.

"However, as much as this is so, the tie-up is also one of convenience.

"Both brands have suffered from a slowdown in sales and are now looking to provide investors with a new growth story. This merger provides that."

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