Post acquires Bob Evans, expanding its refrigerated foods line

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Post Holdings Inc. (NYSE: POST) has agreed to buy packaged foods maker Bob Evans Farms Inc. (Nasdaq: BOBE) for about $1.5 billion. Earlier this year, Bob Evans sold its restaurants business to Golden Gate Capital.

The New Albany-Ohio based target distributes refrigerated potato, pasta, pork sausage and side dishes under the Bob Evans, Owens, Country Creek and Pineland Fartms brands. Post plans to merge the acquisition into its frozen foods division. Bob Evans CEO Mike Townsley says the transaction will provide "further resources and reach to deliver the Bob Evans experience to a broader audience of consumers and retailers." Townsley is expected to remain in his role after the deal closes.

Post, headquartered in St. Louis, is known for producing the Honey Bunches of Oats and Pebbles cereal brands. In 2015, the company purchased Mom Brands.

Demand for packaged foods has been rising as consumers look to eat more at home. In other recent middle-market deals, Advent International acquired pasta sauce producer Rao's Specialty Foods; Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co. Ltd. bought packaged side dish producer Bellisio Foods; and Glencoe Capital Management purchased dip maker Robert Rothschild Farm.

UBS Investment Bank, Barclays, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are advising to Post. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (NYSE: JPM) is advising to Bob Evans.

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