(NEW YORK) -- Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital will acquire H.J. Heinz Company, the food giant best known for its 57 varieties of ketchup, in a transaction valued at a whopping $28 billion, according to a press release from Heinz.
Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett, and 3G will each pay $4 billion in cash in the deal, with Berkshire contributing an additional $8 billion for preferred shares, according to the New York Times. Including the assumption of Heinz's debts, the deal is the fourth largest ever in the food and beverage industry.
In Heinz's statement, CEO William Johnson said, “We look forward to partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, both greatly respected investors, in what will be an exciting new chapter in the history of Heinz."
The agreement was unanimously approved by the Heinz Board of Directors, and is subject to shareholder approval. The merger is expected to close before the end of the third quarter of 2013. Berkshire and 3G have pledged to maintain Heinz's headquarters in Pittsburgh, the city that has been home to the condiment company for over 100 years.
According to the Times, Buffett told CNBC that "Heinz will be 3G's baby." Heinz, which owns the potato company Ore-Ida as well as Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce in addition to their best known condiment, is an intriguing fit for 3G, which also owns a majority stake in fast food giant Burger King.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio