Seneca Foods to acquire assets of Ark. firm for $148M

By ANDREA DECKERT - 12/17/2013 11:34:51 AM

Seneca Foods Corp. said Tuesday it has agreed to acquire most of the operating assets of Allens Inc. for some $148 million.

The deal is subject to a working capital adjustment and the assumption of certain liabilities, Marion, Wayne County-based Seneca Foods officials said.

The transaction is expected to be consummated through a court-supervised process under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The sale is subject to an auction and Bankruptcy Court approval.

Siloam Springs, Ark.-based Allens filed for bankruptcy Oct. 28. Allens will be seeking court approval of Seneca Food's asset purchase agreement.

Founded in 1926, Allens is a processor of canned and frozen vegetables, with some 1,175 employees.

If Seneca Foods is successful in its acquisition, company leaders said it will fit with the long-term growth objective to expand its line of canned vegetable offerings to include sweet potatoes and southern vegetables, and broaden its offerings of dry beans and spinach.

Miller Buckfire & Co. LLC is serving as Seneca Foods’ investment banker. Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel LLP and Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP are serving as legal advisers.

In 2011, Allens and Seneca Foods entered into a memorandum of understanding contemplating a merger of the two companies in an all-stock transaction. Shortly after, Seneca Foods leaders said the firm likely would acquire Allens, but the companies later announced talks were off.

Allens established a local connection in 2003 when it bought Birds Eye Foods Inc.'s Veg-All line. A year later, Allens bought Birds Eye's Fresh Like canned vegetable business.
In 2006, Allens acquired a large piece of Birds Eye Foods' frozen vegetable business, which included plants in Brockport and the Genesee County towns of Bergen and Oakfield. At the time, the three facilities employed more than 300 workers.

In 2012, Allens sold four of its six frozen vegetable operations, including the three local sites, to the Bonduelle Group, a French firm.

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