Hormel Takes Skippy Off Unilever’s Hands

Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn., on Jan. 3 announced it will acquire the Skippy peanut butter line from Unilever United States Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., for approximately $700 million. The deal reportedly includes Unilever's Skippy manufacturing facilities in Little Rock, Ark., and Weifang, China, in the Shandong province.

As the No. 2 peanut butter brand in the country (behind J.M. Smucker’s Jif) with an expected $370 million in global sales, Skippy would be the largest acquisition in Hormel’s history, the company said, and adds another iconic brand to the company’s portfolio.

Hormel officials called it a good match, noting that peanut butter is a protein-based food product but it helps diversify the company away from meats, toward which Hormel is heavily weighted. “The brand will add yet another powerhouse to the center-of-the-store options Hormel Foods provides, and the company is looking for Skippy to deliver strong results moving forward,” read a company statement.

Unilever made it known back in October 2012 that it was shopping the 80-year-old brand, which consists of 11 varieties of shelf-stable peanut butter products. Media reports late last year said interest had been expressed by ConAgra Foods, B&G Foods and Pinnacle Foods.

Skippy is the leading brand in the faster growing subcategory of natural peanut butter, Unilever said. Peanut butter is a $2 billion category with a 74 percent household penetration and is the second most popular sandwich behind ham in the U.S. Internationally, Skippy is the leading peanut butter brand in China and is sold in more than 30 other countries on five continents.

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