Pinnacle Foods Group Inc., whose brands include former Campbell Soup Co. staples Vlasic pickles, Swanson frozen dinners, and Mrs. Paul's frozen seaford, is moving from one set of private-equity owners to another for $2.16 billion.
Pinnacle, which employs 150 in Cherry Hill, originated in 2001 with the $370 million purchase of Vlasic and Swanson from Vlasic Foods International Inc. in a bankruptcy auction.
Two years later, Pinnacle bought Aurora Foods Inc. out of bankruptcy for about $900 million, adding Log Cabin and Mrs. Butterworth' syrups, Lender's bagels, Duncan Hines baking mixes and other brands to its cupboards.
The brands generate about $2.1 billion in annual sales, according to the Blackstone Group, which is buying Pinnacle from J.P. Morgan Partners L.L.C., J.W. Childs Associates, CDM Group, and former bondholders of Aurora Foods.
Pinnacle's chairman C. Dean Metropoulis said in an interview that the cast-off brands he assembled benefited from the elimination of excess capacity and improved financial visibility.
But the credit must also go to the brands' "long history and their established relationships with consumers," Metropoulis said.