Pinnacle Foods Said to Delay Initial Offering to 2013

Pinnacle Foods Group LLC, the distributor of Hungry Man dinners and Birds Eye frozen vegetables, is delaying its initial public offering until next year, said two people familiar with the proceedings.

The foods producer, owned by Blackstone Group LP, is holding off as public investors gravitate to more aggressive growth prospects as consumer sentiment languishes, said one of the people, who asked not to be named as the process is private. The offering would probably value Pinnacle at $4 billion to $5 billion, people familiar with the matter said in February.

Consumer confidence sank to its lowest level of the year last month, dimming the outlook for household spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy. Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm, isn’t in active talks for a private sale of Pinnacle, one of the people said.

In February, Parsippany, New Jersey-based Pinnacle hired Bank of America Corp. and Barclays Plc to manage its IPO, people familiar with the process said then. At the time, Blackstone had planned to take Pinnacle public in the next two quarters, one of the people said.

Blackstone bought Pinnacle for $2.2 billion about five years ago, and combined the company with Birds Eye Foods Inc. in 2009 with a $1.3 billion acquisition.

Officials at Barclays and Bank of America declined to comment. An official at Blackstone didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. A phone message left at Pinnacle Foods’s media relations office wasn’t immediately returned.

Earlier this year, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC weighed an IPO for juice maker Bolthhouse Farms, according to people familiar with the matter. The Chicago-based buyout firm opted for a private sale this week instead, agreeing to a $1.55 billion offer from Campbell Soup Co.

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