Heinz brands sold for £18bn

Heinz’s house of brands has been sold to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and private equity firm 3G Capital for $28bn (£18bn).

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The new owners of the Heinz Beanz, Tomato Ketchup, Salad Cream and Soup brands say in a statement they would work with Heinz to “expand the value of this storied brand”.

Buffett, one of the world’s richest men and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, adds: “Heinz has strong, sustainable growth potential based on high quality standards, continuous innovation, excellent management and great tasting products. Its global success is a testament to the power of investing behind strong brand equities and the strength of its management team and processes.”

Heinz’s UK and Ireland division, led by its former chief marketing officer Matt Hill, has focused on product innovation to drive revenue and category growth. The division has launched more than 100 products in recent years including Heinz Tomato Ketchup Chilli, Heinz Beanz Snap Pots and Fridge Packs and plans to double the rate of innovation in 2013 under the stewardship of current CMO Giles Jepson.

Heinz, which in a statement announcing the deal was described by its CEO William R. Johnson as “one of the most respected brands in the world” has the highest Buzz ranking in the dried food category, according to YouGov’s Brand Index. Its Buzz score- a net balance of positive or negative things people think about the brand – stood at 15.95 yesterday (13 February).

The takeover has been agreed by the Heinz board but still needs to be approved by shareholders.

Heinz was formed in 1869 by Henry J Heinz and L Clarence Noble as Heinz & Noble. It launched in the UK, where it currently employs 2,500 people, in 1886.

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