General Mills to trim portfolio with possible sale of Progresso, Hamburger Helper brands for US$3B

USA – General Mills is considering a sale of brands including its  Progresso Soup and ready to eat meals label  Hamburger Helper for about US$3 billion, Bloomberg has reported citing people with knowledge of the matter. 

The Cheerios cereal maker is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc for the potential sale which also includes some of its smaller brands, the report said.

The move comes months after General Mills announced the sale of its majority stake in the European operations of Yoplait to French dairy cooperative Sodiaal in exchange for full ownership of the yogurt maker’s Canadian business. 

Progresso, which General Mills acquired in 2001 when it bought Pillsbury, offers canned soups, broths, and chili, while Helper sells boxed pasta meals. 

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Its potential sale comes as General Mills aggressively prunes its portfolios to jettison slower-growing brands or ones that don’t fit with their other offerings. 

The sales are also coinciding with the strategic acquisition of products that accelerate revenue expansion or fit into on-demand categories. 

Focus has been particularly on overhauling portfolio to cater to trends, including clean label, snacking, and better-for-you offerings. 

The sale of brands like Progresso and Hamburger Helper is therefore not out of the ordinary and would help it reduce General Mill’s debt levels inflated from prior acquisitions, along with building up its cash reserve for acquisitions that can accelerate growth.  

A sale also would come at a time when at-home consumption remains elevated even as consumers are going out more. It’s possible General Mills is looking to strike while conditions remain hot. 

While General Mills is still assessing whether to make a deal, private equity groups could be interested in the company’s assets, sources told Bloomberg.

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 It’s also possible the Minnesota-based CPG manufacturer could decide to sell the brands to other food companies. 

General Mills named to DJSI World Index 

Meanwhile, General Mills has been named for the fourth consecutive year to both the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index (DJSI North America). 

The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices recognizes leadership in corporate sustainability and results are based on in-depth analysis of economic, environmental, and social performance. 

General Mills ranked in the 94th percentile overall and secured industry-best scores of 100 in Health & Nutrition, Materiality, Environmental Reporting, and Water-Related Risks. 

“There has been no greater time than now to use our scale to be a force for good,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and global impact officer, General Mills.  

“We’re proud of this recognition and remain committed to regenerating our planet and taking care of our communities while making food the world loves.” 

The company’s results were driven by strong sustainability and social impact commitments, robust and public disclosures, and demonstrated improvements in performance over time. 

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