Conagra Brands Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Thanasi Foods, Maker Of Duke's® Meat Snacks And BIGS® Seeds

From by Conagra Brands, Inc.
Conagra Brands Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Thanasi Foods, Maker Of Duke's® Meat Snacks And BIGS® Seeds

Conagra Brands, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, is one of North America's leading branded food companies. (PRNewsFoto/Conagra Brands, Inc.)

CHICAGO, March 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire protein-based snacking businesses Thanasi Foods LLC (Thanasi), maker of Duke's® meat snacks, and BIGS LLC (BIGS), maker of BIGS® seeds.  Financial terms were not disclosed.  The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approval, and is expected to close summer 2017.    

Duke's is a fast-growing premium meat snack brand, with products including Duke's Smoked Shorty® Sausages and Duke's Steak & Brisket Strips.  Duke's products are made in small batches with quality ingredients and authentic hardwood smoke pairings.  BIGS produces a line of premium seed snacks, including jumbo in-shell sunflower seeds, sunflower seed kernels and roasted pumpkin seeds. BIGS partners with some of America's most-loved brands to bring big, bold flavor to seeds. 

"This is another exciting step in our ongoing efforts to reshape our portfolio to be more premium and modern," said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Conagra Brands. "These on-trend brands extend our meat snacks and seeds businesses into faster-growing, more premium segments. We are looking forward to working with the Thanasi team to grow the brands further and create value for our shareholders."

Conagra Brands currently manages the Slim Jim® meat stick brand and the DAVID® Seeds brand. 

Justin "Duke" Havlick, Duke's and BIGS founder and chief executive officer, said, "What started 13 years ago as a simple passion for fire roasting seeds and slow smoking meats, has grown into two terrific brands that are recognized in households across the U.S. This is an incredibly exciting time for our brands and our team, and we are looking forward to working with the Conagra Brands team on the next chapter in our journey to take Duke's and BIGS to another level." Havlick continued, "The Conagra Brands team values our brand beliefs and is committed to continuing to use quality ingredients and the craft methods that deliver the creativity and flavor our consumers and fans love today." 

Following the completion of the transaction, the Duke's and BIGS brands will continue operating out of Boulder, Colorado.

Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP served as legal counsel to Thanasi Foods LLC and BIGS LLC. Jones Day served as legal counsel to Conagra Brands, Inc.

About Conagra Brands
Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG), headquartered in Chicago, is one of North America's leading branded food companies.  Guided by an entrepreneurial spirit, Conagra Brands combines a rich heritage of making great food with a sharpened focus on innovation.  The company's portfolio is evolving to satisfy people's changing food preferences.  Conagra's iconic brands, such as Marie Callender's®, Reddi-wip®, Hunt's®, Healthy Choice®, Slim Jim® and Orville Redenbacher's®, as well as emerging brands, including Alexia®, Blake's® and Frontera®, offer choices for every occasion. With an ongoing commitment to corporate citizenship, Conagra Brands has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability™ North America Index for six consecutive years.  For more information, visit

About Duke's Smoked Meats
Thanasi Foods LLC is a leading maker of premium meat snacks, including Duke's® Smoked Shorty® Sausages and Duke's Brisket & Steak Strips. Focused on crafting the highest-quality smoked meat snacks available, the family-operated business refuses to take shortcuts and is committed to producing its products in small batches with real, whole ingredients, fresh never-frozen pork and chicken, 100% grass-fed beef, and authentic hardwood smoke pairings. For more information, please visit

About BIGS Seeds
Based in Boulder, CO, BIGS® produces a line of premium, USA-grown seed snacks, including jumbo, fire-roasted in-shell sunflower seeds, sunflower seed kernels, and homestyle-roasted pumpkin seeds.  BIGS partners with some of America's most iconic and loved ingredient brands to bring big, bold flavors to its seeds. For more information, visit

Note on Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements regarding expected synergies and benefits of a potential combination of Conagra Brands and Thanasi and BIGS, expectations about future business plans, prospective performance and opportunities, regulatory approvals and the expected timing of the completion of the transaction. We undertake no responsibility for updating these statements. Readers of this press release should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. There is no assurance that the potential transaction will be consummated, and there are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements made herein. These risks and uncertainties include: the timing to consummate a potential transaction between Conagra Brands and Thanasi and BIGS; the ability and timing to obtain required regulatory approvals and satisfy other closing conditions; Conagra Brands' ability to realize the synergies contemplated by a potential transaction; Conagra Brands' ability to promptly and effectively integrate the business of Conagra Brands and Thanasi and BIGS; Conagra Brands' ability to achieve the intended benefits of acquisitions and divestitures, including the transaction described in this press release and the recent spin-off of Conagra Brands' Lamb Weston business; general economic and industry conditions; Conagra Brands' ability to successfully execute its long-term value creation strategy; Conagra Brands' ability to access capital; Conagra Brands' ability to execute its operating and restructuring plans and achieve its targeted operating efficiencies, cost-saving initiatives, and trade optimization programs; the effectiveness of its hedging activities, including volatility in commodities that could negatively impact its derivative positions and, in turn, its earnings; the competitive environment and related market conditions; Conagra Brands' ability to respond to changing consumer preferences and the success of its innovation and marketing investments; the ultimate impact of any product recalls and litigation, including litigation related to the lead paint and pigment matters; actions of governments and regulatory factors affecting Conagra Brands' businesses; the availability and prices of raw materials, including any negative effects caused by inflation or weather conditions; risks and uncertainties associated with intangible assets, including any future goodwill or intangible assets impairment charges; the costs, disruption, and diversion of management's attention associated with campaigns commenced by activist investors; and other risks described in the reports filed by Conagra Brands from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements included in this press release, which speak only as of the date of this press release.

For more information, please contact: 
MEDIA: Dan Hare

INVESTORS: Johan Nystedt 


SOURCE Conagra Brands, Inc.