In a surprise purchase ketchup and baby food maker Heinz is being bought by billionaire Warren Buffett’s investment group, together with private equity firm 3G Capital.
Including the debt that they will take on, the price is the equivalent of 21 billion euros, making it the largest transaction in food industry history.
Buffett – who is putting in close to 10 billion euros in cash – has recently expressed frustration that he has not been able to grow his company through acquisition.
Berkshire Hathaway already has a variety of food assets, including the Dairy Queen ice cream chain, chocolatier See’s Candies and the food distributor McLane.
For 3G the purchase is something of a natural complement to its investment in fast-food chain Burger King, which it acquired in late 2010 and in which it still holds a major stake.
Buffett, famed for a love of cheeseburgers, joked he was well acquainted with Heinz’s products already and that this was “my kind of deal.”