Heinz sets date for shareholder vote on acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway, 3G Capital

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The H.J. Heinz Co. has set a date for what could be its last shareholder meeting as a public company.

The Pittsburgh food company, which in February agreed to a $28 billion cash-and-debt acquisition offer by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, will tally shareholders' votes on the deal at a meeting April 30 in New York, according to a regulatory filing.

Shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 18 are eligible to weigh in on the offer that is expected to take the iconic ketchup maker private.

"We cannot complete the merger unless Heinz shareholders approve and adopt the merger agreement," according to the letter to shareholders from Heinz chairman, president and CEO William R. Johnson that is included in the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under the terms of the deal, each share will be worth $72.50, which represents a 20 percent premium to Heinz's closing share price of $60.48 the day before the Feb. 14 announcement.

The deal has been approved for early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, which allows the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to review planned mergers and acquisitions.

That, company officials said in an official statement this morning, satisfies one of the conditions for consummation of the deal, although certain other regulatory approvals are still needed.

Officials have said the acquisition could close late in the second quarter or during the third quarter.

Heinz is expected to remain headquartered in Pittsburgh.

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Teresa F. Lindeman: tlindeman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2018.


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