Diamond Foods Inc. and The Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) have signed a definitive agreement to merge the Pringles business into Diamond Foods in a transaction valued at $2.35 billion. According to a statement released by P&G on PR Newswire, the transaction when finalized will make Diamond Foods the No. 2 global player in savory snack category.
"Pringles is an iconic, billion dollar snack brand with significant global manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure," Michael J. Mendes, chairman, president and CEO of Diamond Foods, remarks. "Our plan is to build upon the brand equity Pringles has established in over 140 countries. This strategic combination will create an independent, global leader in the snack industry with a focus on quality and innovative products. Not only is this combination immediately accretive, it also creates a platform that we believe will allow us to build shareholder value for years to come."
In its statement, P&G remarks that Pringles is the world's largest potato crisp brand with sales in more than 140 countries and manufacturing operations in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The brand has been built over 45 years with a combination of proprietary products, unique package design and significant advertising investment. Pringles will join Diamond's portfolio of brands, which includes Diamond of California and Emerald nuts, Pop Secret microwave popcorn and Kettle Brand potato chips, creating a premium snack-focused company with total revenues of approximately $2.4 billion.
The combination will more than triple the size of Diamond's snack business and:
• Increase scale in U.S. grocery, mass merchandise, drug and convenience channels to gain greater merchandising and distribution influence;
• Leverage Diamond's sales and distribution infrastructure through a more than doubling of snack sales in the U.S. and U.K., which are Pringles' two largest markets;
• Gain a broader global manufacturing and supply chain platform, with access into key growth markets around the world, including Asia, Latin America and Central Europe;
• Increase Diamond's geographic diversity, with international sales accounting for approximately 49 percent of total revenues on a pro forma basis.
P&G notes that Diamond Foods has a history of building, acquiring and investing in brands through product and package innovation, efficient distribution and brand investment. The company's total revenues have doubled and earnings per share (EPS) have grown more than four-fold in the past five years.
"We are confident Diamond Foods will be an excellent new home for our Snacks employees," says Bob McDonald, chairman of the board, president and CEO of P&G. "This is also a terrific deal for our shareholders - maximizing value and minimizing earnings per share dilution."
In its statement, P&G also noted that the Diamond of California brand has grown from a single product offering to a full line of culinary nuts over the past decade. Today, Diamond is the category leader with a market share 10 times larger than the nearest branded competitor. Emerald, which was launched in 2004, is the fastest growing and second largest brand in the snack nut category. In 2008, the company acquired and successfully integrated Pop Secret microwave popcorn, and by revitalizing the brand, Diamond has gained more than 350 basis points of market share to 26 percent today. In 2010, the company acquired Kettle Brand potato chips and has fueled double-digit organic growth in its first year of ownership while investing in new products and operational infrastructure.
Financial benefit for Diamond Foods shareholders
Assuming Pringles had been owned for all of fiscal year 2011, the combined company would be expected to deliver the following estimated financial results on a pro forma basis for fiscal year 2011:
• Net sales of approximately $2.4 billion;
• Double-digit accretion to earnings per share (EPS), excluding merger and integration costs;
• Estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), including $25 million in synergies, of approximately $398 million to $410 million.
For fiscal year 2012, Diamond Foods anticipates strong growth in its core business with EPS of $2.85 to $2.98 per share on a standalone basis, an increase of 15 percent to 20 percent from the midpoint of its fiscal 2011 guidance range, which represents a 30 percent increase over 2010 EPS.
Combined results for Diamond plus the Pringles business for fiscal year 2012 will depend on the actual closing date of the transaction. Assuming the transaction closes by the end of calendar 2011, seven months of Pringles performance would be included in the following expected results:
• Fiscal 2012 total net sales are estimated to be approximately $1.8 billion;
• Fiscal 2012 EPS, before costs associated with the transaction and integration, are estimated to range from $3.00 to $3.10 per share, which reflects EPS accretion of 12 to 15 cents per share
The transaction is expected to significantly increase cash flow and accelerate the de-levering of Diamond's balance sheet. Pro forma leverage at closing is projected to be below four times EBITDA, and projected to drop below three times at the end of fiscal 2013. Cash flow after brand investments and capital expenditures is expected to approach $200 million in the first full fiscal year after closing the merger.
Financial value for P&G shareholders
The transaction will result in a one-time earnings increase for P&G of approximately $1.5 billion after tax or approximately $0.50 per share. P&G expects only modest EPS dilution of $0.02 to $0.04 on an annualized basis. The stock exchange with Diamond Foods will reduce outstanding P&G shares, partially offsetting the Pringles earnings impact.
P&G expects the separation to occur through a "split-off" transaction in which P&G shareholders can elect to participate in an exchange offer to exchange P&G shares for shares of Diamond. Under the terms of a split-merge agreement, P&G will establish a separate entity to hold the Pringles business, which will be distributed to electing P&G shareholders in a tax-efficient transaction with a simultaneous merger with Diamond. This "Reverse Morris Trust" transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies. P&G expects to finalize the details of this transaction in the coming months.
The value of the transaction is $2.35 billion, comprising $1.5 billion in Diamond common stock, consisting of 29.1 million shares for approximately 57 percent of the outstanding shares of the combined company, and the assumption of $850 million of Pringles debt. Diamond's existing shareholders would continue to own approximately 43 percent of the combined company.
The parties have also agreed to a collar mechanism that would adjust the amount of debt assumed by Diamond based upon Diamond's stock price during a trading period prior to the commencement of the Exchange Offer. The amount of debt to be assumed by Diamond could increase by up to $200 million or decrease by up to $150 million based on this adjustment mechanism.
Diamond expects to incur one-time costs of approximately $100 million related to the transaction over the next two years. P&G also will provide Diamond transition services for up to 12 months after closing.
Leadership, approvals, timing
The combined business will be managed by Diamond's executive team and board of directors, led by Michael J. Mendes, Chairman, president and CEO. The company's headquarters will remain in San Francisco, CA.
The transaction is subject to approval by Diamond shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of calendar 2011.