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Steady strategic acquirer B&G Foods (NYSE: BGS) sold 4.6 million shares in a public stock offering, giving the company $152 million to repay debt outstanding. The proceeds from the sale also provide B&G with more cash on hand to pursue additional targets in the sector, the company says.

“B&G Foods intends to use the proceeds from the offering to repay outstanding borrowings under its revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes, which could include, among other things, repayment of other long-term debt or possible acquisitions,” says B&G.

The company sold the stock at $33.55 per share in a public offering that closed March 15, via underwriter Barclays Capital. Following the closure, B&G lowered its earnings per share guidance for fiscal 2016 to a range of $1.90 to $2.00, down from $1.89 to $2.09. As of January 2, 2016, B&G’s long-term indebtedness totaled $1.7 billion, according to a company SEC filing.

With its most recent target—and the largest to date for the company—B&G acquired frozen and canned vegetable product lines Green Giant and Le Sueur from General Mills Inc. in a $765 million cash transaction. The company completed the acquisition in November. B&G expects Green Giant to generate annualized net sales of approximately $550 million and annualized adjusted Ebitda of approximately $95 million to $100 million, the company said following the acquisition, while also noting the frozen food business provides an additional avenue for future growth and acquisitions.

“What investors should always expect from B&G is we do accretive acquisitions,” Robert Cantwell, president, CEO and director at B&G told analysts in a Feb. 25 conference call discussing the company’s fourth quarter 2015 earnings. “We're buying brands that fit our portfolio. We're buying them for multiples way below what we trade at.”

B&G, which has historically picked up snack and grocery brands, may “continue to inch outside of its comfort zone when making acquisitions” as seen with the Green Giant purchase, say analysts at Moody’s Investors Service. The Green Giant acquisition was riskier for the B&G than earlier transactions not only because it represented the company’s foray into the frozen food category, but because it was also the first target for B&G since 2012 with more than $100 million in annual sales.

Looking back, smaller add-ons for the Parsippany, New Jersey-based manufacturer of shelf-stable foods have included the $50 million purchase of Spartan Foods of America Inc., maker of pizza crust brand Mama Mary's, from private equity firm Linsalata Capital Partners in July; its $155 million acquisition of packaged foods company Specialty Brands of America Inc. from private equity firm American Capital Ltd. (Nasdaq: ACAS) in April 2014 ; and  its buy of granola bar maker Rickland Orchards LLC from Natural Instincts LLC for $57.5 million in October 2013. 

“We do not expect B&G to make any large acquisitions in the near-term as it absorbs Green Giant, the largest acquisition in its history,” says Moody’s in a report. “But we expect it to make bolt-on purchases, which it will fund with its $500 million revolver.”

The rating agency added, “We expect future acquisitions will occur in snacks and grocery if opportunities present themselves. Frozen foods will also be key once the company has established its frozen infrastructure.”

B&G is likely to pursue assets that help the company scale aspects of the business and targets with growth outpacing the relatively slow overall food industry, say observers.

Representatives for B&G did not respond to a request for comment.

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