Ketchup giant HJ Heinz will become the number one sauce leader in the UK as the US firm announces an agreement to acquire a raft of leading sauce brands from French firm Groupe Danone.
The deal, that includes eponymous sauce brands Lea & Perrins and HP, sees Heinz pay €702 million in cash for HP Foods, "to bolster its worldwide condiments and sauce position."
The agreement "is in line with our strategy of growth in our four core businesses of ketchup, condiments & sauces; meals & snacks; infant nutrition; and foodservice," says Heinz chairman, president and CEO William R. Johnson.
The company claims it has already identified "many opportunities to expand sales of the HP, Lea & Perrins and Amoy brands."
The HP sauce range pulled in annual sales of €245 million for Danone's 'other foods' business.
Danone had bought HP Foods - which also makes sauces under the Lea & Perrins brand - for £199m from Hanson Trust in 1998.
Other brands in the HP Foods stable include Amoy, Daddies and Rajah.
The deal also gives Heinz a perpetual licence to market Amoy Asian sauces in Europe.
Bidders in the running for Danone's HP Foods' business are thought to have included US firm McCormick, the world's largest spice company, UK food groups Premier Foods and Associated British Foods.