SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Private equity firms led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. on Tuesday completed their $4 billion takeover of food maker Del Monte Foods Co.

There was some doubt last month that the high-profile acquisition would go through after a Delaware judge delayed the shareholder vote on it by 20 days so other parties could bid.

But no other bids materialized, and shareholders approved the deal Monday.

In addition to Del Monte, the company's brands include Contadina and College Inn foods, as well as Kibbles 'n Bits, Meow Mix and Milk-Bone pet foods.

Investors led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Partners agreed in November to buy the food maker for $19 per share and to assume $1.3 billion in debt.

Its shares, which closed Tuesday at $18.99, will cease trading before the market opens Wednesday.

Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster of the Delaware Court of Chancery said in February that Del Monte adviser Barclays Capital manipulated the sale process to boost its fees, a charge Barclays has denied. Laster said the bank colluded with the private equity firms, but he also faulted Del Monte for its handling of the deal.

Laster was ruling in a case that consolidated several shareholder complaints challenging the deal, none of which originally named Barclays as a defendant.

Del Monte has been owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts before. In 1989, the private equity firm acquired Del Monte as part of the $25.1 billion buyout of RJR Nabisco and soon resold it. Adding another interconnection, Centerview co-founder Jim Kilts is a former CEO of Kraft.

Richard Wolford, 66, chairman, president and CEO of Del Monte, is leaving the company with the close of the deal. Neil Harrison, 58, senior advisor at Vestar, will replace him while a successor is sought.

Also leaving is CFO David Meyers, 65, who will be replaced by Larry Bodner, 48, now executive vice president for finance.

Copyright 2011 The AP.

Recommended for you