Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Hormel’s stock spiked more than 6% on the report before closing up 3.9% at $48.75. Shares of Kraft Heinz closed down less than 1% at $33.16.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said that the deal could be announced as early as next week if the talks don’t fall apart.
As part of Kraft Heinz’s multiyear turnaround effort, executives told investors in September that they have changed from looking at its portfolio as a series of products to how it can fulfill different consumer needs. The company has also been trimming less popular products from its lineup and sold part of its cheese business to Lactalis for $3.2 billion.
Planters is best known for its nuts and snack mixes and its mascot, Mr. Peanut. In recent years, the brand’s biggest splash came from an advertising campaign last year that killed off Mr. Peanut and resurrected him as a baby in its Super Bowl spot. The campaign sparked a New Yorker cartoon and a “Saturday Night Live” cold open. This year, the brand is giving away the $5 million it would have spent on an ad during the big game.
Kraft Heinz came to own Planters through a series of mergers. Kraft’s acquisition of Nabisco Brands in 2000 brought the nut brand into its portfolio, then Kraft merged with Heinz in a 2015 megadeal.
Kraft Heinz and Hormel declined to comment.
Kraft Heinz’s stock is up 13.6% over the past year, bringing its market value to $40.5 billion. Hormel’s stock has a market value of $26.3 billion, after rising 3% over the past 12 months.