9 food & beverage companies loved by dealmakers

Giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo update their product lines with healthy offerings, while private equity firms, such as Brynwood Partners, breathe new life into tried and true brands, like Pillsbury. And lots of buyers experiment with meal kits and delivery methods, fueling M&A. Here are 9 deals we found particularly appetizing.

Brynwood Partners snags Pillsbury and Hungry Jack from J.M. Smucker
Brynwood Partners is acquiring a portfolio of brands from the J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE: SJM) for $375 million. The portfolio includes the exclusive U.S. rights to the well-known Pillsbury brand’s shelf-stable baking products, along with the Hungry Jack, White Lily, Jim Dandy and Martha White brands. The Pillsbury brand is a household name, in part due to the popularity of its advertising mascot, the giggling Poppin’ Fresh character, also known as the Pillsbury Doughboy.
James Harden
Coca-Cola refreshes with BodyArmor deal
The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) is buying a minority stake in sports drink company BodyArmor. The target counts former and current National Basketball Association players Kobe Bryant and James Harden (pictured) among its investors. The deal expands Coca-Cola's beverage line beyond traditional soft drinks, while it gives Whitestone, New York-based BodyArmor access to Coca-Cola's bottling system.
Conagra adds Birds Eye and Hungry-Man TV, buys Pinnacle Foods
Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CG) is buying frozen food maker Pinnacle Foods Inc. (NYSE: PF) for $10.9 billion. Frozen Foods has been Conagra's fastest growing division and with Pinnacle, Conagra will add the Birds Eye, Hungry-Man TV, Celeste pizza and Mrs. Paul's fish brands.
General Mills goes pet food shopping
General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) is buying Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. (Nasdaq: BUFF) for about $8 billion, adding the maker of natural dog and cat food to a portfolio that includes Haagen-Dazs ice cream and Cheerios cereal. The deal capitalizes on consumers’ increasingly treating pets like family members and demanding high-quality healthy food for them.
 Insomnia Cookies
Krispy Kreme buys Insomnia Cookies, which pioneered delivering baked goods to college dorms
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp., a subsidiary of JAB Holding Co. (owner of beauty giant Coty and beverage producers Keurig Dr. Pepper and Peet's Coffee & Tea), is buying a majority stake in Insomnia Cookies, to expand delivery services. Insomnia was founded in 2003 by Seth Berkowitz in his dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania. The company specializes in delivering fresh, warm cookies to the customer's door until 3:00 a.m.
Kroger delivers Home Chef acquisition
Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) has agreed to acquire online meal kit maker Home Chef for up to $700 million. "We've long believed that the future of our industry is omni-channel and bigger than just meal kits sold online. We want to be where our customers are and want to help make cooking at home easier, more accessible and even more enjoyable," says Home Chef founder Pat Vihtelic.
Mondelēz snatches up Tate’s Bake Shop from the Riverside Co.
Mondelēz International Inc. (Nasdaq: MDLZ), which aims to build the “best snacking company in the world,” has completed the $500 million acquisition of Tate's Bake Shop from the Riverside Co. Tate’s is best known for crisp, buttery chocolate chip cookies. Founder Kathleen King began selling small batches of cookies at her family's farmstead when she was 11 years old, according to the company, which operates a specialty bake shop in Southampton, New York.
Peak Rock grabs a slice of Tyson’s pizza crust business
Peak Rock Capital is buying Tyson Foods Inc.'s (NYSE: TSN) TNT pizza crust business, as Tyson sheds units to focus on its proteins division. The target makes baked crusts, self-rising crusts and flat breads for the foodservice and retail Industries. Peak Rock is ramping up its dealmaking in the food and beverage sector.
PepsiCo. buys SodaStream, as consumers seek healthier drinks
PepsiCo Inc. (Nasdaq: PEP) has agreed to buy fizzy-drinks dispenser maker SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA) for $3.2 billion, sending the company synonymous with sugary sodas into the homes of more health-conscious consumers.