Birds Eye owner Nomad Foods has announced it has agreed to buy frozen potato and Yorkshire puddings brand Aunt Bessie’s.
Nomad will acquire the business from William Jackson & Son for approximately €240m (£210m) in a deal that includes a production facility in Hull and around 400 staff.
Aunt Bessie’s holds number one and number two market share positions in the UK within frozen Yorkshire puddings and frozen potatoes respectively
Nomad said that the brand is “closely identified with roast dinners” and will move the group into this “major eating occasion”.
The acquisition will further build Nomad’s brand strength in the UK, which it calls “a strategically important market”.
Highly acquisitive Nomad now owns Birds Eye, the continental European business of Findus and bought the Goodfella’s pizza brand from 2 Sisters for €225m in January this year.
The new acquisition will be intergrated into its existing Birds Eye business.
The group said: “The combination of Aunt Bessie’s, Birds Eye and recently acquired Goodfella’s is expected to result in a highly complementary portfolio with significantly enhanced scale, greater diversification and more resources to accelerate category growth.”
Wayne Hudson, Birds Eye UK MD said: “Aunt Bessie’s is a historic family brand, loved by shoppers and built on strong values and quality product credentials that align perfectly with Birds Eye’s ethos. Combined with Birds Eye and the recently acquired pizza brands (Goodfella’s and San Marco) we are excited about the opportunity of driving further growth in the frozen food category by offering high quality products the nation loves and trusts through more meal occasions.
“The acquisition will also welcome around 400 new colleagues to the Birds Eye business and we are extremely passionate about working with them to increase investment into the category and grow even more consumer love for the frozen food aisle.”
Stefan Descheemaeker, Nomad Foods’ CEO commented: “Aunt Bessie’s iconic brand, positive values and strong product credentials align well with our existing portfolio. As our second accretive acquisition in 2018, Aunt Bessie’s represents another step toward our goal of transforming the frozen food category and building a portfolio of best-in-class food brands.”
Noam Gottesman, Nomad’s co-chairman and founder, added: “The acquisition of Aunt Bessie’s illustrates the power of our value creation model which is fuelled by organic revenue growth, strong free cash flow and disciplined M&A.
“Similar to Goodfella’s Pizza, which we acquired earlier this year, Aunt Bessie’s is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings while providing complementary category exposure, synergy opportunities and new avenues for growth.”
Aunt Bessie’s generated revenues and adjusted EBITDA of approximately €123m and €23m respectively in its most recent financial year to March 2018.
The deal will be funded through cash and debt and is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2018, subject to obtaining any necessary regulatory approvals.
Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Nomad Foods on the transaction. Stamford Partners acted as advisor to William Jackson & Son on the transaction.