Pinnacle Foods Inc.
Metropoulos & Co., along with CCMP and J.W. Childs, formed Pinnacle Foods Inc. in 2001, acquiring certain assets and liabilities of Vlasic Foods International for $370 million. A key part of the turnaround strategy involved actively managing and investing in a portfolio of strong brands and streamlining manufacturing and logistics.
Having made significant progress within only two years, Pinnacle acquired the distressed Aurora Foods in 2003 for approximately $935 million and, later, Armour, maker of canned meats, for $183 million.
By opportunistically purchasing brands at compelling valuations, Pinnacle absorbed significant synergies and a streamlined management structure. The powerful combined brand portfolio included Duncan Hines, Vlasic pickles, Swanson frozen dinners, Mrs. Butterworth’s syrups, Aunt Jemima breakfast foods and Van de Kamp’s seafood, among others.
As part of strategic brand management, the leadership team sought to capitalize on demand from dual-income families for convenience by taking advantage of growing trends in away-from-home eating. They aggressively grew food service distribution at a time when that market was surging, improved trade efficiency and proactively managed key categories. And, in what has become a Metropoulos trademark, they initiated clever marketing programs and campaigns, including an award-winning ad featuring the NFL’s Jeremy Shockey, Warren Sapp and Clinton Portis
Under the Metropoulos’ leadership, Pinnacle became a leading manufacturer of high quality, branded convenience food products, focused on frozen and dry food segments. The company was acquired by Blackstone Group in 2007 for $2.2 billion.