UPDATE 2-B&G to buy General Mills' Green Giant frozen foods business

Thu Sep 3, 2015 12:50pm EDT
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* B&G to also buy General Mills' Le Sueur canned vegetables unit

* Deal valued at about $765 mln

* B&G shares rise as much as 14 pct (Adds details, analyst and B&G CEO comments, shares)

By Ramkumar Iyer

Sept 3 (Reuters) - Snack food company B&G Foods Inc said it would buy General Mills Inc's Green Giant frozen foods and Le Sueur canned vegetables brands for about $765 million to expand its distribution network and enter the frozen foods market.

Shares of B&G, which expects the deal to add to earnings immediately, rose as much as 14 percent to a 14-month high on Thursday.

Growth in the frozen vegetables category has been sluggish in recent years as consumers shift to fresher items. This has led to companies scaling back marketing spend on frozen foods.

B&G plans to double the amount General Mills has been spending on marketing the Green Giant brand, B&G Chief Executive Robert Cantwell said on a conference call.

"In General Mills, Green Giant was an important brand, but they had a different direction...It makes more sense under B&G's ownership and we're going to pay a lot more attention to it," Cantwell said.   Continued...