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Pinnacle Foods Inc. to acquire Wish-Bone salad dressings

BY Jason Owen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Pinnacle Foods today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Wish-Bone salad dressings business from Unilever PLC, in a transaction that is expected to be immediately accretive to Pinnacle. The acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in late Q3 or early Q4 2013.

Wish-Bone is a leading salad dressing brand, holding the #1 share position in the Italian segment of the category and the #3 position overall, according to the company. The portfolio being acquired includes a broad range of liquid and dry-mix salad dressing flavors under the Wish-Bone and Western brand names. The brands have attractive margins and high free cash flow conversion and are expected to immediately enhance Pinnacle margins. Combined annual sales of the brands being acquired total approximately $190 million.

Commenting on the announcement, Pinnacle Foods CEO Bob Gamgort stated, "The acquisition of Wish-Bone is a perfect fit with our successful strategy of ‘Reinvigorating Iconic Brands.’ In addition to enabling significant cost synergies and tax benefits, the transaction enhances our ability to offer consumers meal solutions and recipe ideas across our broad portfolio of brands. We are excited to apply our innovation capabilities to this great brand."

The purchase price of the transaction is $580 million, which will be funded with cash on hand and new debt. Given that the acquisition will be structured as an asset purchase, Pinnacle expects to realize approximately $125 million in tax benefits on a net present value basis. Cost synergies are expected to be substantial, as the company plans to invest $40-50 million in capital to consolidate production into an existing Pinnacle facility and fully leverage the company’s supply chain. Unilever will continue to manufacture the brands to be acquired, for a period of time, under a third-party manufacturing agreement. Synergy realization will be phased over time, beginning in 2014 and ramping up through 2015, as manufacturing is transitioned to Pinnacle. Full run-rate EBITDA of the acquired business is expected to reach $65 million, once full synergies are realized.

EPS accretion is expected to grow from a slight impact in 2013 to meaningful levels, beginning in 2014. Updated 2013 EPS guidance, including the expected impact of the Wish-Bone acquisition, will be provided in the Company’s second quarter earnings announcement being released on August 14, 2013.


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Meijer expands mPerks program to include pharmacy rewards for fuel and groceries

BY Jason Owen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer announced today that it is expanding its mPerks digital coupon program to include pharmacy purchases, allowing customers to personalize their savings and earn rewards in the areas they shop the most whenever they fill a prescription.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer launched the mPerks Pharmacy Rewards program this month after reaching 1.5 million mPerks subscribers and saving enrolled customers $21.5 million so far this year.

For every five eligible prescriptions filled, customers can earn one of the following:

  • $10 off their total shopping purchase;
  • 5% off total grocery, and health and beauty purchases;
  • 50 cents off per gallon of Meijer gas.

Customers can also hang onto their rewards and keep filling prescriptions to earn double rewards, saving as much as $1 per gallon on gas or $20 off their next shopping visit.

"Pharmacy Rewards is just the latest way we go beyond offering everyday low prices and weekly specials to help our customers save money," said Michael Ross, vice president of customer marketing and emerging technology. "We are excited to expand mPerks for our 1.5 million subscribers, and hope they enjoy personalizing their savings even more when they checkout."

Meijer launched mPerks in the fall of 2010 as a way to help customers save money at the register by offering a faster — and more convenient — way to clip coupons. Each week, as many as 25,000 customers sign up for the free online program, which keeps savvy, deal-seeking shoppers from having to cut, print or even present a coupon upon checkout. Ross said the program has a redemption rate up to four times higher than the national average and has seen nearly 82.6 million clips so far this year.

To start earning rewards, customers just go to mperks.meijer.com and sign up in the "rewards" section.

Once customers sign up at mperks.meijer.com, they can preview and select coupons for their favorite national or Meijer own brand products that are then stored in their personal mPerks account until redeemed or expired. The applicable coupons are then instantly redeemed when shoppers enter in their mobile phone number, which serves as the mPerks account number, at checkout.


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Martha Stewart to promote new line of supplements at NACDS Total Store Expo

BY Jason Owen

NEWARK, N.J. — Inergetics, a developer of nutraceuticals and nutritional supplements, is proud to announce that Martha Stewart will be in attendance at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo  at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas on Monday, August 12. Stewart is appearing to support the partnership between Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Inergetics, Inc. as well as to promote the launch of Martha Stewart Essentials — a complete line of whole-food-based supplements created with Inergetics, specifically targeted for women.

Along with representatives from Inergetics, Stewart will conduct an exclusive press roundtable at the show to address the launch of this high-quality line of women’s supplements. Martha will also be on hand for a book signing of her newest bestseller, Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others, beginning at noon at the Inergetics booth (#3857).

"Martha is the embodiment of health, vitality, and active living," said Michael James, CEO of Inergetics. "Fans have been waiting a long time for her to bring a supplement line to market — and so have retailers. Martha Stewart Essentials is creating quite a buzz in the industry, and her upcoming appearance is generating the excitement to match."

Martha Stewart Essentials, which represents Martha’s first foray into the nutritional supplement space, is a line of six condition-specific formulas — Women’s Multivitamin, Graceful Aging, Digestive Health, Bone Support, Menopause Support, and Hair, Skin & Nails, all of which use whole-food components, including fruits, vegetables, and herbs, in addition to standard ingredients.

"I envisioned nutritious whole-food-based supplements for women who live their lives the way I do, healthily and with passion," said Stewart. "I have confidence that consumers will recognize the high quality and nutritional value these formulas deliver, and that they will be as excited about them as I am."

Inergetics’ brand portfolio features, in addition to Martha Stewart Essentials, Surgex Sports Nutrition, the preferred nutritional supplement of Army Sports; Bikini Ready, a leader in weightloss lifestyle solutions; and SlimTrim, the affordable, premium value diet brand.

To find more new products and full coverage of NACDS Total Store Expo, click here.


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