Investor Group to Buy Del Monte Foods

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Fort Worth-based Texas Pacific Group and other investors agreed to buy Del Monte Foods Co., one of the largest U.S. canned fruit and vegetable companies, for about $800 million in cash. Del Monte, which had sales of about $1.2 billion last year, is owned by a financial group led by Merrill Lynch & Co. The purchase price was confirmed by Andrew Hawkins, finance director of Del Monte Group Ltd., a separate Del Monte company. Texas Pacific and Del Monte declined to comment. The purchase could put an end to Del Monte's lean years since the brand's global rights were acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. through its leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco Inc. in 1989 and then sold off in pieces. Del Monte has 2,100 regular employees. Texas Pacific said it plans to keep Del Monte's headquarters in San Francisco and its operations in California.

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