ConAgra Foods buying private-label food producer Ralcorp for about $4.95 billion

OMAHA, Neb. – ConAgra Foods is buying private-label food producer Ralcorp for about $4.95 billion, which will make it the biggest private-label packaged food business in North America.

ConAgra says the acquisition will strengthen its overall position in the North American packaged food business. ConAgra brands include Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Peter Pan and Reddi-wip.

ConAgra Foods Inc. said Tuesday that it will pay Ralcorp Holdings Inc. stockholders $90 per share, a 28 per cent premium to its Monday closing price. Ralcorp’s stock jumped 26.5 per cent in premarket trading.

The combined company will have total sales of about $18 billion annually.

The companies value the transaction at about $6.8 billion when debt is included.

The deal is expected to close by March 31, 2013 and needs Ralcorp shareholder approval.