PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s almost a done deal, with 95 percent of the shareholders approving the acquisition of Heinz by Berkshire Company and a Brazilian private equity company for $72.50 per share.
It’s been an iconic part of the City of Pittsburgh since 1859 — as H.J. Heinz set the standard for high quality condiments like ketchup and other food products.
“A continuous flow of as many products as possible from the processing plant to the warehouses to the grocery shelves to Mrs. Housewife’s kitchen,” says one of the company’s vintage commercials.
But with shareholder approval of the $28 billion takeover of Heinz by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and a Brazilian private equity company called 3G, it’s not entirely clear what the future holds.
“The issue with Heinz right now having 3G as the operating entity is uncertainty,” said Jim Craft, a Pitt Katz Business Professor. “The key is uncertainty right now. We don’t know, Jon (Delano), what the situation is going to be.”
One thing seems certain for now — the headquarters will stay in Pittsburgh.
“Warren Buffett has said it publicly and it’s in the merger agreement,” said Alex
“It’s in the contract which is about as strong as it can get,” William Johnson said. “Warren Buffet gave us his assurance Monday that he has absolutely no interest in the company leaving Pittsburgh.”
The new owners say it’s much too early to say what happens to the 1,200 employees here, but incoming CEO Bernardo Hees — a Brazillian whom 3G is moving from their last takeover — Burger King — to Heinz, does have a reputation.
“He did a lot of things at Burger King in terms of changing things around,” Craft said. “He diminished the number of employees at the headquarters and sold a lot of the stores back.”
Although Burger King was struggling when Hees took over the company, but Heinz is in much better shape.
But 3G’s aggressive overhauls in the past suggest a shakeup could be in the works, even as the new owners say now that nothing is imminent.