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Birds Eye Buys Maker of C&W

The acquirer says the purchase of California & Washington enhances its West Coast presence.

September 25, 2004|From Bloomberg News

Birds Eye Foods Inc. said Friday that it acquired frozen-vegetable marketer California & Washington Co. to add more than 60 products and to better compete in the western United States.

"This gives us a terrific presence on the West Coast," Birds Eye spokeswoman Bea Slizewski said of the purchase.

Birds Eye, based in Rochester, N.Y., is the nation's largest processor of frozen vegetables. California & Washington, based in San Francisco, is a leading seller of frozen vegetables and fruits in such markets as Los Angeles, San Diego and Portland, Ore. It is best known for its C&W brand.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Birds Eye would pay approximately $50 million for the company. Slizewski said she could not confirm the figure.

Closely held Birds Eye competes in the West with the Green Giant brand, a unit of General Mills Inc.

California & Washington is the biggest seller of frozen vegetables in California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona. Its products will keep the C&W brand, Birds Eye said.

Birds Eye products are marketed under the Birds Eye, Freshlike, Nalley and Brooks names. The company also sells Tim's and Snyder of Berlin snacks.

Birds Eye's net income increased $11.1 million to $31.9 million in fiscal 2004 from $20.8 million in the previous year, with sales of about $1 billion.

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