August 1, 2000
ConAgra Purchases Lightlife
OMAHA, Neb.--ConAgra Inc. [NYSE:CAG], a foodservice manufacturer and retail food supplier, purchased Turners Falls, Mass.-based Lightlife Foods Inc. on July 14 for an undisclosed amount. All assets of Lightlife were purchased.
Lightlife, a maker of meatless products, is a 21-year-old company with a good foothold in the natural products industry. It produces items such as meatless hot dogs, burgers, deli slices and ground meat substitutes as well as traditional soy items such as seitan andtempeh.
The acquisition will give ConAgra an instant "in" to the natural product industry, much like Kellogg got when it acquired Worthington Foods for approximately $307 million in November. Both acquisitions were no doubt inspired by the recent soy health claim awarded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 1999. According to ConAgra chairman Bruce Rohde, this acquisition is "evidence" of ConAgra's commitment to providing consumers with natural products."We are increasing our focus in this area because of consumer demand for healthful vegetarian-based products," he said.
For Lightlife, the purchase means an expansion of its reach and a new worldwide scope. "Joining forces with ConAgra is very exciting for all of us, as it allows us to fully expand the growth potential of our products and our people," said co-founder and president, Chia Collins. Lightlife will continue to operate with existing employees. It will become its own "group" at ConAgra, and will report to Tim Harris, ConAgra's Refrigerated Prepared Foods president and chief operating officer. For more company information, visit www.conagra.com or www.lightlife.com.
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