Smucker wraps up acquisition

The J. M. Smucker Co. on Monday said it has completed its $1.9 billion acquisition of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition LLC, maker of Rachael Ray Nutrish premium pet food.

While the cash deal is $1.9 billion, the price falls to $1.7 billion because of an estimated tax benefit of $200  million.

Orrville food giant Smucker and Ainsworth announced the sale April 4. Ray is a celebrity businesswoman, author, talk show host and cook. Rachael Ray Nutrish accounts for about two-thirds of Ainsworth sales.

The other pet food brands owned by J.M. Smucker include Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, Kibbles ’n Bits, Natural Balance, and 9Lives. The company first added pet foods to its portfolio in a $5.8 billion deal in 2015 to buy Big Heart Pet Brands.


Shearer’s CEO talks strategy

Shearer’s Foods Chief Executive Officer Bill Nictakis says the Massillon snack foods company is interested in improving manufacturing operations and focusing on its private-label work, Crain’s Cleveland Business reported.

Shearer’s runs 11 facilities across the United States and Canada.

“We don’t need to add to that right now,” Nictakis told the publication. “We’re going to focus on improving what we have ... We intend to grow, but it’s not about tonnage. It’s about profitable tonnage.”


Sears explores Kenmore sale

Sears Holdings Corp.’s board has formed a special committee to consider selling its storied Kenmore brand along with other related assets.

The ailing company, which operates department stores under the Sears and Kmart names, announced the move Monday. The announcement came almost a month after the retailer said it received a letter from its largest shareholder ESL Investments, headed by Sears Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert, expressing interest in all or some of the assets, which include Sears Home Services’ home improvement business and the company’s Parts Direct business.

Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., said no assurance can be given that any formal proposal will be made by ESL or any third party.


CBS sues major shareholder

CBS is suing its controlling shareholder as part of its long-running attempt to avoid a combination with Viacom.

Both companies are controlled by National Amusements. That’s the holding company run by Shari Redstone, the daughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone. Though National Amusements abandoned a proposal for CBS and Viacom to combine in 2016, CBS fears it may come up again.

Now, CBS is suing to block any interference by National Amusements ahead of a CBS board vote on a dividend that would dilute National Amusements’ voting interest from 79 percent to 17 percent. CBS says that would make CBS independent and allow it to “more fully evaluate strategic alternatives.”

National Amusements says it is “outraged” and has no intention of forcing a deal not supported by both companies.


Lyft drivers win Disney fight

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board last week ruled about 60 drivers who pick up Disney World guests using the Lyft app can be represented by the Teamsters local in Orlando, Fla. The Lyft drivers are Disney World employees who earn extra money by driving guests around the resort that is roughly the size of the city of San Francisco.

Disney had argued that the Lyft driver jobs couldn’t be covered by a union since the Teamsters waived their right to represent any workers not mentioned in its five-year contract. The Teamsters negotiated the contract in 2014 along with five other unions that form a coalition called the Service Trades Council. The council already represents about half of the 77,000 employees at Disney World.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.