Post Holdings, Inc., St. Louis, announced plans to acquire Bob Evans Farms, Inc., New Albany, Ohio, for $77 a share. This combination will strengthen Post’s portfolio of brands, expand choices for customers and increase Post’s presence in higher growth categories of the packaged food market.

Founded in 1948, Bob Evans is a producer and distributor of refrigerated potato, pasta and vegetable-based side dishes, pork sausage and a variety of refrigerated and frozen convenience food items under the Bob Evans, Owens, Country Creek and Pineland Farms brands. Bob Evans also maintains a growing foodservice business, which includes sausage, sausage gravy, breakfast sandwiches and side dishes.

“We have enormous respect for Bob Evans’ success, and are excited about the growth opportunities this combination will create,” says Rob Vitale, president and CEO of Post Holdings. “Combining with Bob Evans expands our portfolio of top brands and gives Post a leading position in the perimeter of the store. We look forward to welcoming the talented Bob Evans team to Post and working to create a successful future together.”

“We are pleased to join the Post family, combining our complementary portfolios to the benefit of all of our stakeholders,” says Mike Townsley, president and CEO of Bob Evans Farms. “This transaction creates enhanced and certain value for our stockholders, while providing further resources and reach to deliver the Bob Evans experience to a broader audience of consumers and retailers. We are very proud of our 70-year history as a beloved brand and eager to begin this next chapter of growth.”

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first calendar quarter of 2018.