Rpt: Kellogg in Talks to Buy Diamond Foods for $1.5B

StocksReuters

Corn Flakes maker Kellogg (NYSE:K) is in late-stage talks to buy snack foods company Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND) for more than $1.5 billion, the New York Post reported, citing sources.

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Kellogg could pay $35-$40 a share, the report said, implying a premium of up to 22 percent to Diamond's Thursday close.

Shares of the maker of Kettle potato chips and Pop Secret popcorn rose 6 percent to $34.80 in early trading on Friday.

Diamond Foods had hired Credit Suisse to help explore a sale, DealReporter said in September.

The company has struggled to boost sales this year. Revenue missed analysts' estimates in the last four quarters and the company exited a low-margin nut products business this year.

Kellogg has been trying to expand its snack foods business through acquisitions and increase its international presence as sales of cereals decline in the United States.

It bought Egyptian baker Bisco Misr in January and entered into a distribution deal to expand in Africa.

Diamond Foods declined to comment. Kellogg was not immediately available for comment.

Diamond's biggest shareholders are hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management, with a 14 percent stake, and BlackRock Institutional Trust Co, with a nearly 7 percent stake.

Kellogg shares were little changed in early trading.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)