In a combination of two snack companies with major brands, Snyder's-Lance has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Diamond Foods.

The transaction, expected to close in early 2016, has been approved by both boards of directors. The cash and stock merger transaction will amount to roughly $1.91 billion with estimated annual synergies of $75 million. Diamond Foods stockholders will own approximately 26 percent of the combined company based on outstanding share counts.

"Diamond Foods is a clear industry leader with exceptional brands, and we're excited to bring together these two highly complementary companies," says Carl E. Lee, Jr., president and ceo, Snyder's-Lance. "Diamond has excelled in delivering exceptional product quality and innovation across their entire product portfolio, with products and ideas that work perfectly alongside our Snyder's-Lance brands."

Snyder's-Lance plans to take advantage of the combined sales forces of the two companies to drive a stronger top line growth, says Lee. It will also capitalize on opportunities to grow internationally with Diamond's existing European platform.

The acquisition will increase the company's annualized net revenue to approximately $2.6 billion dollars and expand Snyder's-Lance's mark in the "better-for-you" snacking segment.

It also expects to strengthen its direct-store-delivery network in the United States as well as open up new opportunities for growth in the United Kingdom and across Europe.

The company believes the combined company will have an expanded portfolio and enhanced capabilities, including:

  • Broad array of iconic snacking brands: The new Snyder's-Lance will offer an enhanced portfolio of iconic brands including: Snyder's of Hanover, Kettle Brand, KETTLE Chips, Lance, Pop Secret, Cape Cod, Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, Emerald nuts, Late July and Diamond of California nuts, among others
  • International expansion: Opportunities for geographic expansion beginning with Diamond Foods’ UK presence with future reach across Europe
  • Expanded better-for-you presence: The transaction will build upon Snyder's-Lance's current "better-for-you" credentials with more brands and products, aligning to important consumer trends with a diversified portfolio of non-GMO and organic branded products
  • Increased scale: The combination is expected to provide deeper retailer partnerships and a larger presence in snacks, deli and center-of-store locations. Product distribution is also expected to expand with opportunities in natural, convenience store, food service and other channels
  • Enhanced operational platform: The transaction brings together two highly complementary businesses and scalable infrastructure across distribution, manufacturing and procurement
  • Strengthened capabilities: Strategic combination creates ability to leverage the talents of two robust teams through best practices and knowledge sharing

"The combination of Diamond and Snyder's-Lance provides the opportunity to create significant value for our stockholders and offers immediate benefits for consumers," says Brian J. Driscoll, president and ceo, Diamond Foods. "This transaction will create a diversified, branded snacking portfolio with greater operating scale. In addition, we expect the transaction will provide us with greater resources to further develop new product innovation and broaden our geographic reach and route to market across complementary customer bases. We are excited about the opportunities this combination will create for consumers and our stockholders."