ConAgra to Buy Tennessee Pride, Including Little Rock Plant

Corporate giant ConAgra Foods Inc. has reached an agreement to buy Odom's Tennessee Pride, a producer of breakfast sandwiches and sausage that has 300 employees at a plant in Little Rock, for an undisclosed sum, a ConAgra Foods spokesman told Arkansas Business Tuesday.

The agreement is not yet final. But ConAgra spokesman Dan Hare said it is expected to occur within the next 15 to 45 days.

Odom's Tennessee Pride, headquartered in Madison, Tenn., also has a plant in Dickson, Tenn. The company has about 750 employees total, Hare said.

ConAgra Foods (NYSE: %%CAG%%), based in Omaha, Neb., has about 25,000 employees worldwide. Its brands include such household staples as Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's and Wesson.

Odom's Tennessee Pride, a private company currently headed by CEO Larry Odom, was founded in 1943.

In a news release, ConAgra Foods said Odom's Tennessee Pride has annual revenue of more than $190 million and was the second-largest producer of frozen breakfast sandwiches in the United States.

"Fitting with the company's strategy of expanding into high-growth adjacencies, the acquisition of Odom's Tennessee Pride would build ConAgra Foods' capabilities in frozen breakfasts, a key adjacency to its frozen meals business," the release said.

"The acquisition of Odom's Tennessee Pride will build on our strong position in frozen meals and allow us to leverage our existing innovation, marketing and distribution abilities," said Gary Rodkin, ConAgra Foods CEO. "We are excited to develop our portfolio in the growing breakfast category."

"We are proud of the business we've built over the past three generations," Odom said in the release. "We are excited to join ConAgra Foods and we look forward to being a part of their growth plans."

Buying Odom's Tennessee Pride would be the third acquisition in the last year for ConAgra Foods, the company noted, citing the purchases of National Pretzel Co. and Del Monte Canada.

ConAgra Foods was No. 200 on the 2011 Fortune 500 list, with $12.3 billion in revenue in fiscal 2011, compared with $12.01 billion in 2010. It reported net income of $817 million in 2011 compared with $725.8 million in 2010.

The proposed acquisition would be the third in the last year for ConAgra, following the acquisitions of National Pretzel Company and Del Monte Canada.