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Investment Group Completes $1.1 Billion Food Deal

August 16, 1993

DALLAS (AP) _ A investment group led by billionaire Robert M. Bass said Monday it has completed a $1.1 billion leveraged buyout of eight companies, which make foods ranging from pickles to mozzarella.

The eight food companies are being bought from Beledia N.V., a Dutch company. They have annual revenues of $2.1 billion.

The purchase was completed by Specialty Foods Corp., a corporation formed by a group of investors. Included is the Dallas investment firm Haas Wheat & Partners; Bass’ Keystone Inc., based in Fort Worth; Keystone affiliate Acadia Partners L.P.; UBS Capital Corp., the North American merchant banking subsidiary of Union Bank of Switzerland; and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners L.P., an affiliate of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

Artal Belgium S.A., a Beledia affiliate, also will be a substantial equity investor in Specialty Foods, the new company said.

The eight companies included in the deal are:

-Stella Foods Inc. of Green Bay, Wisc., the fourth-largest U.S. cheese producer.

-Metz Banking Co. of Sioux City, Iowa.

-Pacific Coast Baking Co. of Oakland, Calif., which owns San Francisco French Bread Co. and Gai’s Seattle French Baking Co.

-Mother’s Cake & Cookie Co. of Oakland, Calif.

-Specialty snack foods manufacturer Burns & Ricker Inc. of Paterson, N.J.

-B & G-DSD Inc. of Roseland, N.J., which manufacturers and distributes dry grocery products, including pickle and pepper products.

-H&M Food Systems Co. Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, a provider of specialty meat products to the pizza and Mexican restaurant industries; and

-Gordon’s Wholesale Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa, a distributor of candy, tobacco and food products throughout the Midwest.

The eight companies were assembled for Beledia by New York-based Invus Group, Artal’s North American investment arm, with more than 25 acquisitions over the last seven years, Specialty Foods said.

Financing for the deal was provided by a group of banks led by Chemical Bank.

Specialty Foods said the acquisition ″serves as a natural vehicle for building an even larger food company.″ The investor group was attracted by the food companies because they all are market leaders in important niches, the new company said.

Dallas buyout specialist Robert Haas and former investment banker Douglas Wheat formed Haas Wheat last October. Haas Wheat has an agreement to pursue acquisitions with the $1.7 billion Acadia fund, and the specialty-foods deal is the first by the two groups.

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