Diamond Foods takes a chip out of P&G

SAN FRANCISCO and CINCINNATI — A Procter & Gamble potato chip brand will merge with a snack company in a $2.35 billion deal.

P&G said that it inked a definitive agreement to merge its Pringles business into Diamond Foods — whose portfolio includes such brands as Emerald Nuts and Pop Secret popcorn — which boasted revenues of about $2.4 billion. The transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2011, is subject to approval by Diamond shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

 Diamond Foods president and CEO Michael Mendes called the deal a "strategic combination" and that the company will build on Pringles' brand equity. The combined business will remain in San Francisco, Diamond Foods said.

For fiscal year 2012, Diamond anticipates strong growth in its core business with earnings per share of $2.85 to $2.98 on a standalone basis, which represents a 30% increase over 2010 EPS.

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