Categories Retail

Conagra revives takeover talks with Pinnacle Foods

Conagra Foods (CAG), which is busy reshuffling its brand portfolio, is said to have revived the takeover discussion with its peer Pinnacle Foods (PF) that also specializes in the frozen food category. Ever since Conagra sold its private-label unit in 2016, it has been reinventing itself and focusing more on the branded food business.

Latest reports according to CNBC claim that Chicago, Illinois-based Conagra has held advanced takeover talks with its smaller rival. Pinnacle shares surged the day of disclosure. Talks surrounding the potential takeover started to break last year. But the deal failed to finalize as Pinnacle’s expectations far exceeded what the owner of Reddi-Wip was willing to pay.

Though the company has kept the financial details of the transaction under wraps, industry sources claim that it would be a cash and stock deal. The sources also cautioned that the negotiations could still fall apart.

There has been mounting price competition on Conagra and Pinnacle from bigger rivals like Amazon and Walmart. They were forced to slash prices on items as millennials began to shun frozen items in favor of fresh and healthier food.

Activist Jana Partners a long-time stakeholder in Conagra, revealed a 9% stake in Pinnacle this April. The activist forced the company to either consider selling itself or explore other options within the frozen food space. Conagra and Pinnacle together could create the second-largest frozen foods company in the US, after Nestle.

Conagra’s quarterly performance:

Conagra, today released its Q4 results, and the company managed to beat consensus estimate on both top and bottom line. During the quarter the company earned $0.18 a share. Excluding items, the company earned $0.50 a share, beating analysts’ estimate of $0.44 per share. Revenue came in at $1.97 billion, up 5.9%, topping the consensus estimate of $1.92 billion.

For 2019, the company expects net sales growth to be in the range of about 0.5-1.5%. In Q1 2019, Conagra is expected to post net sales growth between 2.0%-2.5% and generate an adjusted EPS of $0.46-0.49.

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