Post, a company that has been built through deal making, is at it again with the purchase of Ronzoni. The company, which already owns iconic cereals as well as packaged food brand Bob Evans, has been ramping up its portfolio expansion in a big way with a string of deals in recent months.
In the course of one week in December, Post announced plans to buy one of the country’s most popular peanut butter lines in Peter Pan from Conagra Brands. Days later, Post snapped up Almark Foods, a provider of hard-cooked and deviled egg products. Post also agreed in January to distribute Hungry Planet’s plant-based meats in retail and food service and to invest an undisclosed amount in the company. And a month later, Post led a $12.5 million Series B funding round for PeaTos.
Now, Post is adding to its portfolio Ronzoni from Ebro Group, a Spain-based company that has been trimming its pasta portfolio. TreeHouse Foods agreed in November to buy a majority stake in U.S. branded pasta maker Riviana Foods for $242.5 million. The deal included brands such as Prince, Creamette, American Beauty, No Yolks and San Giorgio.
This acquisition allows Post to add a pasta brand that grew sales in 2020 — although like a lot of brands in the food space, Ronzoni likely benefited from increased demand by consumers spending more time cooking at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Post’s majority-owned 8th Avenue is no stranger to pasta, with its Dakota Growers providing more than 150 shapes and pasta formulas for retail private label, food service and ingredient customers. Ronzoni will likely be an easy acquisition to tuck in for Post, and the addition of the Virginia plant could provide it with an opportunity to increase output for some of its other pasta items. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021.
After the divestment, Ebro said it will maintain a presence in the North American market through its dry and fresh pasta businesses, frozen products, rice and other high-value offerings.
Over its recent history, Post has begun to look much like a private equity company with a hodgepodge collection of select food brands and investments in many others. As the St. Louis company continues to look for ways to grow and leverage the reach of its existing operations, more synergistic deals like Ronzoni are all but inevitable.