KKR to spend dollars 2bn on another food firm

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NEW YORK - Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts, the leveraged buyout group best known for its dollars 24bn takeover of RJR Nabisco, is taking control of another big US food group, buying Borden in a complex deal worth about dollars 2bn, ( pounds 1.3bn) writes Larry Black.

KKR will pay for the deal with half its remaining 35 per cent stake in RJR, which was refloated on the New York Stock Exchange three years ago. Borden shareholders will receive shares in RJR, and RJR will end up with a 20 per cent stake in Borden.

The remaining 80 per cent will be controlled by KKR, a New York limited partnership whose investors include several institutions.

Borden will remain a stand- alone entity, although analysts say RJR management is expected to reshape the troubled group. Its grocery product lines include pasta, milk, ice-cream, jams and seafood.

Borden has been the object of takeover speculation since the beginning of the year, when its directors ousted Anthony D'Amato, chief executive, after a failed restructuring effort. Hanson and Nestle were among potential buyers.