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General Mills launches $1B equity offering to fund Blue Buffalo acquisition

General Mills Inc. on March 26 launched an underwritten public offering of approximately $1 billion worth of shares of its common stock to partly fund its acquisition of Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc.

The Minneapolis-based packaged foods producer, which owns the Betty Crocker and Cheerios brands, said it will grant underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to approximately $100 million of additional shares of its common stock.

The company said that if the acquisition does not come to fruition, it will use the net proceeds from the equity offering for general corporate purposes.

General Mills also said it is considering a senior unsecured notes offering to support the $8.0 billion Blue Buffalo deal, which recently received the green light from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are acting as joint book-running managers and representatives of the underwriters for the common stock offering, while Barclays Capital Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC are also acting as joint book-running managers.