Hormel buys Planters from Kraft Heinz

Published 6:35 pm Thursday, February 18, 2021

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In a $3.35 billion deal, Hormel has bought Kraft Heinz Company’s nuts business, including most products sold under the Planters brand.

As part of the deal announced Feb. 11, Hormel will also buy Kraft Heinz’s Planters production facilities in Suffolk and in Fort Smith, Arkansas, as well as its Corn Nuts production facility in Fresno, California. The facilities and employees, according to Kraft Heinz, “will continue to operate in ordinary course.”

The sale includes a tax benefit of about $560 million, making the net purchase price $2.79 billion.

The purchase is expected to close between April and June, subject to regulatory review and approval.

“There is nothing revolutionary here,” said Hormel President and CEO Jim Snee. “There’s no new strategy of the day. The acquisition of Planters is simply a continuation of our strategic evolution. And as with anything we do at Hormel Foods, we have taken a very diligent and disciplined path to this acquisition.”

Kraft and Heinz merged in 2015, with Kraft taking ownership of the Suffolk Planters processing facility, which celebrates 108 years in the city this year.

Snee called Planters “an iconic leading snack brand with universal consumer awareness.”

The sale includes single variety and mixed nuts, trail mix, Nut-rition products, Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls as well as Corn Nuts branded products. The sale also includes global intellectual property rights to the Planters and Corn Nuts brands.

“This is another momentous step in our rapid transformation of Kraft Heinz,” said Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio in a statement. “It will enable us to sharpen our focus on areas with greater growth prospects and competitive advantage for our powerhouse brands. Within our Real Food Snacking platform, this means more aggressively driving real fuel for kids through Lunchables and real meal alternatives like P3.”

Planters had about $1.1 billion in net sales in fiscal year 2020, primarily in the United States, and the Kraft Heinz Company had net sales in 2020 of about $26 billion.

Snee, who said Hormel identified the Planters brand as far back as 2016 during its strategic planning process, said he expects “significant synergies” in integrating the business into its operations.

He said the Planters brand “would fit well into our growing and evolving portfolio,” but it wasn’t until last year that Hormel began talks with Kraft Heinz. Snee said part of the reason for the acquisition was to diversify its business from fluctuations in the commodity meat business and to drive more growth in the snacking industry. About 25% of Hormel sales will now come from non-meat products.

Similar to Hormel’s previous acquisition of the Skippy peanut butter brand, Snee believes Planters could act as a catalyst into other areas of the snacking space.

“We have ambitious plans to grow this brand, and our competency and brand stewardship will be key for driving growth for the business and for our customers,” Snee said. “Additionally, the Planters brand provides another platform for snacking innovation.”