Private equity group to buy Del Monte for $4B

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Del Monte Foods Co. has agreed to be bought for $4 billion in cash in one of the biggest private equity deals of the year.

An investor group led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts Co., Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Partners agreed to buy the food maker for $19 per share. They will also assume $1.3 billion in debt.

That is a 6 percent premium to the stock’s closing price on Wednesday, though the stock has soared recently on published reports about a possible buyout.

After a lull during the recession, more private equity deals are springing up. Extended Stay Inc., NBTY Inc., Interactive Data Corp. and Burger King Holdings Inc. all agreed to be taken private this year.

Del Monte brands include food products under the Del Monte, Contadina and SW brands and pet foods including Kibbles ‘n Bits and Milk-Bone.

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