General Mills Sells Green Giant to B & G Foods Inc.

MINNEAPOLIS (Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS) -

General Mills has sold Green Giant, the vegetable business that began in farms in south central Minnesota and became a symbol of the growing convenience of food delivery in the mid-20th century, to food processor B & G Foods Inc.

B & G will pay about $765 million in cash for Green Giant as well as the Le Sueur brand product line, which is chiefly sold in Canada.

The businesses, largely canned and frozen vegetables, accounted for $585 million of General Mills’ $17.6 billion in sales in its fiscal year that ended in May. Though well-known, they have come under some pressure as consumers’ preferences shifted to fresh vegetables in recent years.

General Mills, based in suburban Minneapolis, said it will use proceeds from the sale for share repurchases and to pay down debt.

B & G, based in Parsippany, N. J., was one of at least four firms to express interest in the Green Giant business, which General Mills put on the block earlier this year. Private-equity firms Cerberus Capital Management LP and Platinum Equity LLC, as well as French food group Bonduelle SCA, also made offers, Reuters reported last week.