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Hungry Man owner Pinnacle buys Unilever’s Wish-Bone salad dressing

Hungry Man owner Pinnacle buys Unilever’s Wish-Bone salad dressing
Pinnacle buys Wish-Bone salad dressing brands
(MYUNG J. CHUN / Los Angeles Times)

Pinnacle Foods Inc., owner of brands such as Hungry Man dinners and Duncan Hines baking mixes, is buying the Wish-Bone salad dressing brands from Unilever for $580 million.

The deal, funded by cash and new debt, comes as Unilever readjusts its priorities to beauty and health goods from food products.

In January, the company, which is based in the Netherlands and Britain, sold its Skippy peanut butter brand to Spam maker Hormel Foods for $700 million.

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Now Pinnacle, which is based in Parsippany, N.J., will take on Wish-Bone as well as the Western brand of dressings.

Together, the two labels bring in $190 million in combined annual sales, according to Pinnacle. Wish-Bone is the market leader in Italian dressings and third among all dressings, according to the company.

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Pinnacle, which also owns Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup and Aunt Jemima breakfasts, said it will invest up to $50 million to consolidate Wish-Bone production into one of its facilities.

Until the transition is finalized, likely in 2015, Unilever will continue to manufacture the salad dressing brands through a third party.

The purchase is likely to be completed late in the third quarter or early in the fourth, Pinnacle said.

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Twitter: @tiffhsulatimes

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