General Mills, Inc. announced Thursday it will sell its Green Giant and Le Sueur vegetable businesses to B&G Foods, Inc., for approximately $765 million.
The two vegetable businesses comprised of the US, Canada, and select other markets, generated annual net sales of approximately $585 million in fiscal 2015.
The Green Giant company, known for its mascot the Jolly Green Giant, traces its roots back to the early 1900’s where it grew until merging with the Pillsbury Company in 1979. The company became a part of General Mills when Pillsbury was acquired by General Mills in 2001. Green Giant offers more than 160 different vegetable products.
“We are thrilled to welcome Green Giant and Le Sueur to the B&G Foods family of brands,” said Robert Cantwell, president and CEO of B&G Foods. “For over 100 years, Green Giant and Le Sueur have been providing consumers with great tasting, nutritious vegetables picked at the peak of perfection. We look forward to building on that rich history by offering new and innovative products that will respond to the needs of today’s health conscious consumer.”
Cantwell said the acquisition marks the company’s first entry into the frozen food business and expects to pursue future growth opportunities in the category.
General Mills will continue to operate the Green Giant business in Europe and select other export markets under license from B&G Foods.
General Mills—whose brands include Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury—called the move a “strategic priority to shape its portfolio for growth, focusing its resources on the brands, categories, and geographic markets that have the greatest future growth opportunities.” In recent months the company has focused on growing its organic and natural brands while building its cereal segment. General Mills expects to use the proceeds of the sale to repurchase stock and pay off debt.
B&G Foods projects that following a six to twelve month transition period, the Green Giant and Le Sueur brands will generate on an annualized basis net sales of approximately $550 million.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of the year.