ConAgra Goes Ahead with Ralcorp Plans

Zacks

ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) made an announcement today acknowledging the receipt of the “no-action letter” from the Canadian Competition Bureau. The letter indicates that the Commissioner of Competition does not intend to stand in the way of ConAgra’s acquisition of Ralcorp Holdings Inc. (RAH), announced in late November last year. This declaration frees the company from one of the criteria for the completion of the acquisition.

In another press release, the company reported the outcome of its cash tender offer for certain Ralcorp Notes, announced in early January 2013. As on the early tender date, January 14, 2013, the Ralcorp Note holders tendered a total of 93.9% or $281.7 million and 96.2% or $433.0 million of 4.950% Notes due August 15, 2020 and 6.625% Notes due August 15, 2039, respectively.

The holders who have tendered their Notes on the above date are eligible for an early tender premium on the amount of Notes. However, the holders who tender their Notes after the Early Tender period but before the Settlement date of January 29, 2013, will be eligible to receive the Exchange Consideration only.

BofA Merrill Lynch, a wing of Bank of America Corp. (BAC), is the exclusive dealer manager and solicitation agent for the Tender Offers and Consent Solicitations.

The above settlement is done in connection with ConAgra’s proposed acquisition of Ralcorp, which we believe will lead the company to better profitability due to cost synergies. Since the acquisition announcement date of Ralcorp, ConAgra has experienced a 10% hike in its stock price.  

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on CAG. The stock bears a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), while its competitors Flowers Foods Inc. (FLO) and General Mills Inc. (GIS) carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), respectively.

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