Warren Buffett buys Heinz in largest ever food industry $28bn deal
London: American tycoon Warren Buffett is set to buy food giant Heinz in a deal worth 28 billion dollars.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company and private equity firm 3G, which also owns fast-food chain Burger King, have agreed to take over the food company, famous for its ketchup and baked beans.
In a statement, Heinz called the deal ‘historic’, and the largest to date in the food industry, the BBC reports. The takeover has been approved by the company's board, but still needs to be voted on by shareholders.
Heinz chairman, president and chief executive William Johnson said that the Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in global food industry and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders. He added that they look forward to partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, both greatly respected investors, in what will be an exciting new chapter in the history of Heinz.
The deal will marry one of the best-known brands in the food industry with one of the US's most famous businessmen. The deal will offer shareholders 72.50 dollars a share, a 20 percent premium on the company's previous all-time high share price, the report said.
Berkshire Hathaway will contribute 12-13 billion dollars in cash to the deal. In total around 23 billion dollars of the deal will be in cash, with the rest in debt, it added.
At a press conference following the announcement of the deal, 3G Capital's co-founder Alex Behring assured Heinz employees the 144-year-old business would continue to be headquartered in Pittsburgh. But he said it was too soon to discuss potential cost-cutting measures, the report said.
If agreed, the deal would be the latest in a string of big deals announced recently, after merger activity suffered during the global financial crisis, it added.