Post Holdings believes in a balanced breakfast.
The St. Louis–based maker of cereals and other dry goods confirmed Thursday that it has agreed to buy Michael Foods from its private equity owners for $2.45 billion in Post’s largest acquisition to date. Michael Foods, which is based in Minnetonka, Minn., is a food distributor and processor that specializes in cheese, egg and refrigerated potato products. The target’s brands include All Whites egg whites and Better’n Eggs egg substitutes as well as Simply Potatoes and Crystal Farms cheeses.
In its announcement of the deal, Post said the acquisition will allow the company to take advantage of consumer trends toward protein-rich breakfasts. Post—which is best known for making such cereal brands as Fruity Pebbles, Grape-Nuts, Honey Bunches of Oats and Raisin Bran—was spun off from its former parent, Ralcorp Holdings, in a $900 million deal that wrapped up in 2012. (Ralcorp was then subsequently bought by ConAgra Foods in a $5 billion deal later that year.)
Post is acquiring Michael Foods from private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners and GS Capital Partners, the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs. The former acquired Michael Foods in 2003 and sold an 80 percent stake in the company to GS Capital in 2010 for $1.7 billion.
The deal for Michael Foods is the latest acquisition for Post, which agreed to pay an undisclosed amount for a Nestlé sports nutrition portfolio in February headlined by the PowerBar protein bar brand. The company also bought Dakota Growers Pasta for $370 million from Viterra in September.
St. Louis–based firm Lewis, Rice & Fingersh is representing Post on the purchase of Michael Foods. The firm’s previous work for Post includes advising the company on a $525 million senior notes offering last November. St. Louis–based M&A partners Tom Zook and John Bodnar are leading the firm’s team working on Thursday’s deal along with associate Alfred Ludwig. Tax partner Michael Donovan, securities partner Leonard Essig, real estate partner Marisa Byram and finance partners Steven Drapekin and Mark Winings are also advising.
Diedre Gray, a former Bryan Cave associate, is Post’s general counsel.
Meanwhile, Michael Foods is being represented by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. The firm also advised GS Capital Partners on the 2010 acquisition of its stake in Michael Foods. New York–based corporate partner Abigail Bomba and corporate department cochair Robert Schwenkel are leading the firm’s team on Thursday’s deal. Corporate partners Stuart Gelfond and F. William Reindel are also working on the deal along with compensation and benefits partner Donald Carleen, antitrust partner Peter Guryan, litigation partner David Hennes and tax partner David Shapiro.
Michael Foods’ general counsel is Carolyn Wolski.