Unilever is selling its North American pasta sauce brands, Ragu and Bertolli, to Mizkan Group for $2.15 billion in cash as it continues to streamline its operations.
Japan’s Mizkan — a 200-year-old vinegar and food manufacturer — paid $2.15 billion (£1.27 billion) for Unilever’s US pasta sauce brands Ragu and Bertolli, it revealed today.
Mizkan — which bought Premier Foods’ Branston pickle and Sarson’s vinegar brands back in 2012 — has stepped up its acquisitions recently. It first entered the US market in the Eighties. Ragu and Bertolli have an annual turnover of more than $600 million and the deal should complete next month.
Analysts at Panmure Gordon said the price paid by Mizkan is 3.5 times sales and is “healthy” but noted the after-tax proceeds of the sale were likely to fall to around €1 billion (£810,000).
Unilever, which also makes Dove soap and Lynx deodorant, is focusing on its health and beauty businesses. It has already off-loaded its Bifi and Peperami brands this year but it is still looking for a buyer for its Slim-Fast brand.
Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, said the sale takes it closer to the end of its US clear out. He said: “This sale represents one of the final steps in reshaping our portfolio in North America to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, and enables us to sharpen our focus within foods.Reuse content