Hormel Foods Corp. said it has agreed to buy privately-held Applegate Farms LLC for $775 million. Hormel said it expects the deal to be neutral to its 2015 per-share earnings, but to add 7 cents to 8 cents a share to its 2016 earnings. Bridgewater, NJ.-based Applegate is a leading brand in the natural and organic prepared foods sector. The company has 100 employees and deals with about 1,800 family farms to source its products. "A growing number of consumers are choosing natural and organic products. This deal allows us to expand the breadth of our protein offerings to provide consumers more choice," Hormel Chief Executive Jeffrey M. Ettinger said in a statement. Hormel shares rose 5.5% in after-hours trade, after closing the regular trading session down 0.5%.
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