Ballard Spahr represented Applegate, the nation’s leading natural and organic meat company, in a $775 million acquisition by Hormel Foods that closed yesterday.

Under the agreement, Applegate will operate independently as a stand-alone subsidiary in Hormel’s Refrigerated Foods segment. The deal allows Applegate to leverage Hormel Foods’ vast resources while continuing its mission-driven focus on providing consumers nationwide with meat that is antibiotic-free, humanely raised, and organic.

Stephen McDonnell founded Applegate in 1987, and the company has experienced exponential growth in the organic and natural food market. Applegate sells natural and organic meat products including deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, sausages, frozen breaded chicken, and pre-packed lunch kits. More than 140 Applegate products are sold in stores nationwide.

Mr. McDonnell will serve as an adviser to the company and Applegate CEO Kerry Collins will continue in her role for the next several months. The company’s headquarters will remain in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and all employees will be retained. Applegate will continue to support labeling and transparency on genetically engineered foods, limiting the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, and advocating for the advancement of humane standards.

The Ballard Spahr team on the transaction was led by Business and Finance Senior Counsel Richard J. Braemer and included Lynn E. Rzonca, Wayne R. Strasbaugh, Brian M. Pinheiro, Leslie E. John, Shannon D. Farmer, Jane E.R. Siegfried, Christopher A. Jones, Andrea T. Oller, David A. Haworth, Robert S. Kaplan, Diane A. Thompson, and Christopher W. Welsch.

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