H.J. Heinz Company and Kraft Foods Group have agreed to merge, forming the third largest food and beverage company in North America and bringing together a portfolio of iconic brands.
Together the new Kraft Heinz Company will have eight $1 billion-plus brands and five brands valued at between $500 million and $1 billion including Heinz, Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Ore-Ida and Philadelphia.
With $28 billion in combined annual revenue, the new company will follow only to PepsiCo and Nestle USA in annual North American sales, according to Reuters.
Kraft Foods Group is also one of the top licensors in the world, ranking No. 107 on License! Global's annual Top 150 Licensors report with an estimated $200 million in retail sales of licensed merchandise in 2013.
“We are thrilled about the unique opportunities this merger will create for our consumers worldwide, as well as our employees and business partners," says Bernardo Hees, chief executive officer, Heinz. "Together, Heinz and Kraft will be able to achieve rapid expansion while delivering the quality brands and products that our consumers love.”
Under the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both the Heinz and Kraft board of directors, Kraft shareholders will own a 49 percent stake in the combined company, and Heinz shareholders will own 51 percent on a fully diluted basis.
Additionally, Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway and investment firm 3G Capital will invest $10 million in the new company.
Once the deal is finalized, Alex Behring, chairman of Heinz and a managing partner at 3G Capital, will become the chairman of the Kraft Heinz Company. John Cahill, Kraft chairman and chief executive officer, will become vice chairman and chair of a newly formed operations and strategy committee of the board of directors. Bernardo Hees, current chief executive officer of Heinz, will be appointed chief executive officer of The Kraft Heinz Company.