ConAgra Inc. announced it will buy International Home Foods Inc. for $1.6 billion in cash and stock, plus $1.3 billion in debt. International Home Foods, based in Parsippany, N.J., produces Chef Boyardee pastas, Gulden's mustard, and Pam cooking spray. Among ConAgra's consumer brands are Butterball, Healthy Choice, Orville Redenbacher, and Swiss Miss. The combined company will have $28 billion in annual sales, Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra said. The deal is the second this month involving major prepared-food marketers. Europe's Unilever agreed June 6 to pay $20.3 billion for Bestfoods, maker of Skippy peanut butter and Hellmann's mayonnaise.
If the planned merger between WorldCom and Sprint Corp. falls through, a prime candidate to buy the latter may be German telephone giant Deutsche Telekom AG, The Washington Post reported. Quoting a senior Deutsche Telekom executive, the Post said the company wanted to find an American enterprise with a substantial Internet transmission and telephone network. Analysts expect both Sprint and WorldCom to become prime takeover targets if regulators block their $115 billion deal.
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