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Netherlands group sells U.S. food companies for $1.1 billion

DALLAS -- Specialty Foods Corp., a Dallas company formed by an investor group, said Monday it has completed acquisition of eight U.S. food companies from Beledia N.V. of the Netherlands for $1.1 billion.

The eight companies include Stella Foods Inc. of Green Bay, Wis.; Metz Baking Co. of Sioux City, Iowa; Pacific Coast Baking Co. of Oakland, Calif.; Mother's Cake & Cookie Co. of Oakland; Burns & Ricker Inc. of Paterson, N.J.; B & G/DSD Inc. of Roseland, N.J.; H & M Food Systems Co. Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, and Gordon's Wholesale Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa.

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Specialty said the eight properties -- assembled for Beledia by New York-based Invus Group through acquisitions over the past seven years -- boast $2.1 billion of annual revenues.

The suitor said it bought the companies because each represents an important niche or market leader.

Specialty said it expects Monday's acquisition to serve as a vehicle for building an even-larger food company through market penetration, product-line extension and strategic acquisitions.

A group of banks led by Chemical Bank offered senior financing for the deal.

Specialty's investors include Haas Wheat & Partners, a Dallas-based private-investment firm; Keystone Inc., a Fort Worth-based private- investment firm formerly known as the Robert M. Bass Group; Acadia Partners L.P., a $1.7 billion private-investment partnership; UBS Capital Corp., the Union Bank of Switzerland's North American merchant- banking subsidiary; and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners L.P., an affiliate of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

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