Spam maker Hormel buys Skippy peanut butter. (Associated Press )
Skippy, meet Spam. Hormel Foods, the maker of Spam canned ham, is buying the brand Skippy peanut butter from consumer products giant Unilever for about $700 million.
The move comes as Austin, Minn.-based Hormel is beefing up (heh) its portfolio of meats such as Farmer John sausage and Jennie-O turkey and boosting its presence overseas, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
The sale includes Skippy factories in Little Rock, Ark., and Shandong Province in China, CNN says.
Hormel Chief Executive Jeffrey M. Ettinger told analysts in a conference call that he expected Skippy to become one of the company's biggest brands.
It's the second-largest peanut butter brand in the U.S., behind J.M. Smucker-owned Jif, and the top peanut butter in China. Hormel says the peanut butter industry is valued at $2 billion. Skippy, which was launched in 1932, sells 11 varieties of peanut butter in more than 30 other countries.
Hormel said it expects Skippy to bring in annual sales of $370 million, nearly $100 million of that from overseas.
Unilever has well-known brands such as Dove soap and Ben & Jerry's ice cream but has been selling some brands -- such as P.F. Chang's and Bertolli frozen meals -- to concentrate on emerging markets, CNN said.
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