May 24 • 07:55 PM

Pinnacle, Conagra merger is complete

October 31, 2018
IMLAY CITY — Now that shareholders have given their blessing, the acquisition of Pinnacle Foods by Conagra Brands, Inc. is officially complete.

Conagra made that announcement on Friday. Earlier last week, Pinnacle Foods' shareholders voted to approve the transaction, paving the way for the merger that was agreed to in June of this year for $10.9 billion in cash and stocks.

Pinnacle Foods is the parent company of Imlay City's Vlasic plant—the only remaining facility in the U.S. that produces Vlasic products. It's not clear what the merger might mean for the pickle plant on Blacks Corners Road. It remains one of Lapeer County's largest employers.

Dan Hare, a media spokesperson for Conagra, told the Tri-City Times in a email message that "the acquisition of Pinnacle Foods by Conagra Brands does not impact any facilities at this time."

According to Conagra officials, the merger will not immediately impact Pinnacle facilities, like the Vlasic pickle plant in Imlay City.

"Expanding Conagra Brands' portfolio through the acquisition of Pinnacle Foods creates a tremendous opportunity to drive profitable growth and shareholder value by further leveraging our proven approach to innovation, brand-building, operational excellence and deep customer relationships," said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Conagra Brands.

"We are excited to combine the Pinnacle and Conagra Brands portfolios in the attractive frozen meals and snacks and sweet treats categories. The complementary brands, operations and results-oriented cultures will help facilitate an effective integration and the continued transformation of Conagra Brands."

Pinnacle Foods is based in Parsippany, New Jersey and Conagra Brands is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Back in 2014, Hillshire Brands attempted to purchase Pinnacle Foods but the transaction fell apart before the merger could be finalized. Ultimately, Pinnacle exercised their right to terminate the deal.

As part of a corporate restructuring in 2012, Pinnacle opted to close a Vlasic plant in Delaware and make the Blacks Corners Road facility its flagship for pickle production. Tax abatements, a state grant, a personal property tax exemption and a ten-year contract agreement by the employees' union helped entice Pinnacle to stay in Michigan. The Imlay City plant produces more than 150 million jars of pickle products annually.

Pinnacle Foods was created in 2001 and, throughout the years, has built its brand portfolio to include Hungry Man frozen dinners, Open Pit barbeque sauce and Birds Eye frozen vegetables.

In addition to Vlasic, the Pinnacle brands portfolio includes Birds Eye, Duncan Hines, Wish Bone, Glutino and more.

Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she and her family reside in the Capac area where she enjoys gardening and reading.
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