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ConAgra Foods said yesterday that it will spend about $5 billion to acquire Ralcorp, a move that , as USA Today writes, makes it the nation's "biggest manufacturer of cereals, crackers and other packaged foods sold under store brands ... The deal caps a year of acquisitions for ConAgra, which makes Banquet, Chef Boyardee and Marie Callender’s. In the past year, the company also snapped up brands including National Pretzel, Bertolli frozen meals and Del Monte Canada."

In an email yesterday, Doug Knudsen, president of Sales for ConAgra, wrote:

"The two companies’ portfolios are a complementary fit, with very little overlap in terms of offerings. We will add their private label products – including cereal, pasta, crackers, jellies and jams, syrups, frozen waffles and more – to our existing private label business. We believe that the enhanced breadth and depth of the combined portfolio, with increased product offerings across a wide range of price points, segments and channels, will allow us to better address your needs. We are also confident that we can leverage ConAgra Foods’ operating capabilities, such as our Research, Quality and Innovation platform, shopper insights, and rigorous food safety practices, to provide the right focus and resources to deliver even greater value and innovation to you over the long term."

The transaction is expected to close by March 31, 2013.
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