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Thursday 18 January 2018

Buffett agrees £18bn deal for Heinz

Heinz is to be bought by an investment consortium in a deal valued at £18 billion. (AP/File)
Heinz is to be bought by an investment consortium in a deal valued at £18 billion. (AP/File)

Food giant Heinz says it has agreed to be acquired by an investment consortium including billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a deal valued at 28 billion dollars (£18 billion).

The ketchup company says Heinz shareholders will receive 72.50 dollars (£47) in cash for each share of common stock they own. The deal value includes the assumption of Heinz's debt. Based on Heinz's number of shares outstanding, the deal is worth 23.3 billion dollars (£15 billion) excluding debt.

"It's our kind of company," Mr Buffett said in an interview on CNBC, noting its signature ketchup has been around for more than a century. "I've sampled it many times."

Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, the investment firm which also bought Burger King in 2010, say Heinz will keep its headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Given the saturated North American market, Heinz has increasingly looked to emerging markets for growth. In its last quarter, the company said emerging markets made up 23 % of sales.

The per-share price for the deal represents a 20% premium to Heinz's closing price of 60.48 dollars yesterday.

Mr Buffett said Berkshire will still have room to make more acquisitions, noting that the firm's businesses continually replenish its cash supply.

"Anytime we see a deal is attractive and it's our kind of business and we've got the money, I'm ready to go," he said. (Heinz)

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