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Goldman Sachs, Vestar Said to Near Purchase of Hearthside Food

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Wind Point Partners LP is near an agreement to sell snack maker Hearthside Food Solutions LLC to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s private-equity arm and Vestar Capital Partners Inc. for about $1.1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The deal may be announced as soon as today, said the people, asking not to be named because the information is private. BC Partners Holdings Ltd. and Oak Hill Capital Partners LP also made offers for the business, people said earlier this month.

Hearthside, which makes snacks including pretzels and cookies sold under consumer-product companies’ brand names, was acquired by Wind Point in 2009. The company sold its ready-to-eat cereals and granola-making business to Post Holdings Inc. last year, according to its website. Barclays Plc started an auction for Downers Grove, Illinois-based Hearthside late last year, the people said.

Andrea Raphael, a New York-based spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on its interest in Hearthside as did Carol Makovich, a spokeswoman for Vestar. Marc Hazelton, a spokesman for Barclays, also declined to comment, while officials at Wind Point couldn’t immediately be reached.

Hearthside, led by Chief Executive Officer Richard Scalise, has about 7,500 employees, according to its website. Reuters reported March 7 that Goldman Sachs and Vestar were nearing a deal to acquire the company, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Vestar was part of a group of buyout funds that acquired Del Monte Foods Co. in a $5.3 billion deal in 2011. Vestar also acquired a stake in grocery wholesaler American Roland Foods Corp. in August and has owned consumer brands including Birds Eye Foods and Celestial Seasonings.

Chicago-based Wind Point, which manages about $2.8 billion of assets, also owns snack food maker Shearer’s Foods LLC and meat product maker Rupari Food Services Inc.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jodi Xu in New York at jxu205@bloomberg.net; David Welch in New York at dwelch12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mohammed Hadi at mhadi1@bloomberg.net Ben Scent, Terje Langeland

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