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Del Monte Foods: No Other Buyout Bids Received

Food Manufacturer did not receive any alternative buyout bids during its go-shop period, clearing the way for a $4 billion acquisition by a group of investors.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Del Monte Foods Co. said Monday it did not receive any alternative buyout bids during its go-shop period, clearing the way for its $4 billion acquisition by a group of investors that includes its former owner.

Del Monte said that the 45 day period in which it was allowed to seek out third-party proposals ended on Saturday.

An investor group led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. -- which briefly owned Del Monte -- Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Partners agreed to buy the food maker in November for $19 per share. They will also assume $1.3 billion in debt.

Del Monte, based in San Francisco, is the owner of several well-known pet-food brands, including Kibbles 'n Bits, Meow Mix and Milk-Bone. It also has food brands under the Del Monte, Contadina, College Inn and S&W names.

The private equity firms in the deal have a long history with food makers.

KKR has bought food and beverage companies such as Beatrice Cos., RJR Nabisco and Borden Foods. It acquired Del Monte as part of its $25.1 billion leveraged buyout of Nabisco in 1989, and then sold Del Monte soon afterward. And Centerview's co-founder, Jim Kilts, is a former CEO of Kraft.

It was also the second pet-food deal of 2010 for KKR, which acquired British pet retailer Pets At Home in January 2010.

Del Monte grew through acquisitions over the past decade and is now a company that gets more than half of its revenue from pet food. In 2006, it sold its retail private label soup and gravy business as well as its U.S. infant feeding business and acquired the Meow Mix and Milk-Bone brands. It began trading publicly in 1999.

The acquisition is expected to close by March's end.
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