Beloved Kiwi brand Wattie's will soon be owned by US investor Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway company and Brazilian private equity firm 3G (which acquired Burger King in 2010 in a US$4 billion deal) have teamed up to buy HJ Heinz Co for a total of US$23.2 billion ($27 billion).
H J Heinz – synonymous with its ketchup brand – owns Heinz Wattie’s, which bought Wattie's back in the 1990s.
The deal requires the approval of Heinz shareholders and regulators. The board has agreed to the sale, in which shareholders receive $72.50 cash for each share, a 20 percent premium to the stock's closing price of $60.48 on the New York Stock Exchange.
According to the Wattie's website, James (Jim) Wattie and friend Harold Carr formed J. Wattie Canneries Ltd in 1934 and in 1935 started supplying pulped fruit to be made into jam, which led in turn to the canning of peaches and pears. Post WWII, the company expanded into tomato sauce, spaghetti, baked beans and other canned and frozen goods.
Goodman Fielder and Wattie Industries merged in 1987, and in 1992, H J Heinz snapped up Wattie's for $565 million.
Wattie's has just launched a new campaign in honour of the quest to squeeze 'every last drop' out of the sauce bottle. And here's a few more classic ads for your viewing pleasure.