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Warren Buffet

Biggest ever food deal: Ketchup giant Heinz bought by billionaires Buffet and Lemann for $23bn


By Noel Young, Correspondent

February 14, 2013 | 3 min read

One of the biggest brand names in history is changing hands. H .J. Heinz and Co, famed for its '57 varieties' is being bought by an investment group including billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann of 3G Capital .

Heinz: biggest-ever food deal

The ketchup company says the $23.3 billion deal is the largest-ever in the food industry. In Britain the company is famous for Heinz beans - "Beanz meanz Heinz" in the words of the famous slogan.

Heinz shareholders will receive $72.50 in cash for each share they own.

"It's our kind of company," Buffett said in an interview on CNBC. Heinz tomato sauce has been around for more than a century. "I've sampled it many times.," said Buffet.

In addition to ketchup and beans , Heinz other varieties include Classico spaghetti sauces, Ore-Ida potatoes and Smart Ones frozen meals.

Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, the investment firm which also bought Burger King in 2010, says Heinz HQ will still be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Heinz has increasingly looked to emerging markets for growth, the Denver Post reported. In its last quarter, the company said emerging markets made up 23 percent of sales.

The per-share price for the deal is 20 percent more than Heinz's closing price of $60.48 on Wednesday. Heinz said the deal was unanimously approved by its board. Buffett said on CNBC that Berkshire is putting $12 billion to $13 billion into the deal.

But he noted that Berkshire will still have room to make more acquisitions. its businesses continually replenish its cash supply, he said.

"Anytime we see a deal is attractive and it's our kind of business and we've got the money, I'm ready to go," Buffett said.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

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