Centerview said to join KKR in Del Monte bid |

Centerview said to join KKR in Del Monte bid

KKR & Co. is working with a Centerview Partners private-equity fund run by James Kilts, the former Gillette Co. chief executive officer, in its bid to buy Del Monte Foods Co., said people with knowledge of the matter.

Vestar Capital Partners, a buyout firm, is also joining KKR in the bid for the pet-food company. KKR and Del Monte are aiming to reach an agreement as soon as possible. In joining with Kilts, KKR gains the expertise of a former CEO who won praise from billionaire investor Warren Buffett for his turnaround of Gillette, and who previously ran Nabisco Holdings Corp. and Kraft when it was a unit of Philip Morris Cos.

Last week, the Financial Times reported the parties were discussing a price of about $18.50 a share, valuing the company at $3.6 billion. Del Monte, based in San Francisco and with an operations center on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, rose 94 cents to $17.99 Wednesday. The shares have jumped 59 percent this year.

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