Conagra Brands Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire protein-based snacking businesses Thanasi Foods LLC, maker of Duke's meat snacks, and BIGS LLC, maker of BIGS seeds. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approval, and is expected to close summer 2017. 

Duke's is a fast-growing premium meat snack brand, with products including Duke's Smoked Shorty Sausages and Duke's Steak & Brisket Strips. Duke's products are made in small batches with quality ingredients and authentic hardwood smoke pairings. BIGS produces a line of premium seed snacks, including jumbo in-shell sunflower seeds, sunflower seed kernels and roasted pumpkin seeds. BIGS partners with some of America's most-loved brands to bring big, bold flavor to seeds. 

"This is another exciting step in our ongoing efforts to reshape our portfolio to be more premium and modern," said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Conagra Brands. "These on-trend brands extend our meat snacks and seeds businesses into faster-growing, more premium segments. We are looking forward to working with the Thanasi team to grow the brands further and create value for our shareholders."

Conagra Brands currently manages the Slim Jim meat stick brand and the DAVID Seeds brand.

Justin "Duke" Havlick, Duke's and BIGS founder and chief executive officer, said, "What started 13 years ago as a simple passion for fire roasting seeds and slow smoking meats, has grown into two terrific brands that are recognized in households across the U.S. This is an incredibly exciting time for our brands and our team, and we are looking forward to working with the Conagra Brands team on the next chapter in our journey to take Duke's and BIGS to another level." Havlick continued, "The Conagra Brands team values our brand beliefs and is committed to continuing to use quality ingredients and the craft methods that deliver the creativity and flavor our consumers and fans love today." 

Following the completion of the transaction, the Duke's and BIGS brands will continue operating out of Boulder, Colo.

Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP served as legal counsel to Thanasi Foods LLC and BIGS LLC. Jones Day served as legal counsel to Conagra Brands Inc.

Source: ConAgra Foods