Pinnacle Foods Inc. CEO Bob Gamgort (C) and company executives ring the opening bell, in celebration of the company's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange on March 28, 2013.

Pinnacle Foods Inc. CEO Bob Gamgort (C) and company executives ring the opening bell, in celebration of the company's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange on March 28, 2013. (REUTERS)

Pinnacle Foods to buy Canadian protein foods maker Garden

Features Reuters

Pinnacle Foods Inc said it would buy plant-based protein food maker Garden Protein International Inc for C$175 million ($154 million) from founder Yves Potvin and private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners LLC.

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Vancouver-based Garden sells its products under the 'Gardein' brand, founded by Potvin in 2009. The brand is expected to generate net sales of about C$65 million in 2014, Pinnacle said.

The brand's frozen plant-based foods serve as alternatives for traditional animal-based products such as chicken strips and tenders, ground beef and fish filets.

The brand is available in over 22,000 retail stores in North America, including those of Kroger Co and Target Corp .

Pinnacle, which sells Birds Eye branded frozen vegetables, said it will fund the buyout with cash in hand.

The company said it would invest significantly on the brand in 2015, and expected "a minimal, if any, positive impact on its earnings" next year.

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The deal, including a manufacturing plant and nearly 250 employees, is expected to close on Friday.

"We believe that plant-based protein is at the tipping point of becoming mainstream," Pinnacle Foods Chief Executive Bob Gamgort said.

Hillshire Brands Co in June withdrew its recommendation to its shareholders to vote for a $6.6 billion acquisition of Pinnacle Foods, following Tyson Foods Inc's offer to buy Hillshire.

Perella Weinberg Partners is serving as financial advisor to Pinnacle Foods, while Houlihan Lokey Inc is serving as financial advisor to Garden Protein.

($1 = 1.1375 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)