February 23, 2017 / 6:13 PM / 5 months ago

France's Bonduelle to buy California's Ready Pac Foods

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FILE PHOTO - Bonduelle canned processed vegetables are displayed on shelves in an Intermarche supermarket in Lanton, Southwestern France, August 30, 2013.Regis Duvignau/File Photo

(Reuters) - Bonduelle (BOND.PA) on Thursday said it struck a deal to buy Ready Pac Foods, a privately held California producer of fresh, prepared salads and other produce, in a move expected to significantly expand the French company's U.S. presence.

The purchase, which is subject to routine regulatory reviews and approvals, is slated to close by the end of March. Bonduelle said in a statement it will acquire all of Ready Pac Foods' common stock and run the business as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Terms were not disclosed.

The move comes as U.S. consumers are eating more fresh food and as grocery stores are making space in the produce aisle for products such as the bagged lettuce blends, salad kits and Bistro Bowls sold by Irwindale, California-based Ready Pac.

Bonduelle, established in 1853, owns four brands of canned, frozen and fresh vegetables and has operations in Canada and across Europe. The Ready Pac deal would make the United States the largest market for the company, which is headquartered in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Chris Reese

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