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Pinnacle Foods raises $580 million in IPO

Pinnacle — whose brands include Birds Eye, Duncan Hines and Aunt Jemima — sells 29 million shares for $20 each. They rise 11% on their first day of trading.

March 29, 2013|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
  • Pinnacle Foods' initial public offering, one of the largest of the year, pegs the company's value at about $2.3 billion. Its brands include Log Cabin.
Pinnacle Foods' initial public offering, one of the largest of the… (Daniel Acker, Bloomberg )

Just like its popular Duncan Hines cake mixes, packaged foods company Pinnacle Foods Inc. is on the rise after raising $580 million in an initial public offering.

The company — which owns popular brands such as Birds Eye, Aunt Jemima, Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth's and Hungry-Man — made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PF.

Wednesday night, the Parsippany, N.J., business sold 29 million shares for $20 apiece — at the top end of its suggested $18-to-$20 range. On Thursday, the stock closed up $2.21, or 11%, at $22.21 a share.

The IPO, one of the largest of the year, pegs Pinnacle's value at about $2.3 billion. Private equity firm Blackstone Group bought the company, which pulled in $2.5 billion in net sales in its 2012 fiscal year, in 2007.

Blackstone spent $2.2 billion to take Pinnacle from a group of investors, including buyout baron C. Dean Metropoulos, who owns beer maker Pabst Brewing Co. This month, Metropoulos agreed to pair up with Apollo Global Management to take control of Twinkies and other snacks from bankrupt Hostess Brands Inc. for $410 million.

Pinnacle, under Blackstone's direction, acquired Birds Eye Foods Inc. for $1.3 billion in 2009.

In the U.S., about 85% of households buy Pinnacle products, according to the company's S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and its affiliates are Pinnacle's largest customers, representing a quarter of net sales for the last three fiscal years.

The retail grocery industry continues to consolidate, making business risky for Pinnacle, the company said in its filing. Larger and more sophisticated buyers mean more demands on Pinnacle for lower prices and better promotions, a tricky proposition in a time of high ingredient costs.

As a public company, Pinnacle plans to offer an 18-cent quarterly dividend, a 3.6% yield based on its IPO price, according to research group PrivCo. That's higher than the current 2.2% average yield for stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, according to the group.

PrivCo calls the Pinnacle IPO the largest true debut of the year, excluding spinout IPOs from Pfizer Inc. and CVR Energy Inc., which raised $2.2 billion and $690 million, respectively.

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