PITTSBURGH, and UNIONDALE, N.Y., June 15, 2000 /PRNewswire/ -- H. J. Heinz Company (NYSE: HNZ) today announced its intention to execute its preemptive right to purchase by June 19, 2000 additional equity in The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: HAIN), formerly The Hain Food Group, Inc., to restore Heinz's investment level to 19.5% of the outstanding stock of Hain. The Heinz investment level was diluted following the acquisition by Hain of Celestial Seasonings on May 30, 2000. Under the terms of the agreed contractual price, the shares will be purchased at $30.88 for an approximate $80 million additional investment. Heinz and Hain together have a global strategic alliance to develop in the very dynamic and fast-growing natural and organic segment of the food industry. "We are delighted with our global partnership with Hain Celestial, which is the leading player in the natural and organic segment. Like Heinz, Hain Celestial possesses some of the premier brands in the food industry," noted William R. Johnson, Heinz President and Chief Executive Officer. Editors Note: See news release issued by Heinz and Hain on September 27, 1999 via PRNewswire. ABOUT HEINZ: With sales over US$9 billion, H. J. Heinz Company is one of the world's leading marketers of branded foods to supermarkets and away-from- home eating establishments. Its 50 companies operate in some 200 countries, offering more than 57 hundred varieties. Among the company's famous brands are Heinz, StarKist, Ore-Ida, 9-Lives, Weight Watchers, Wattie's, Plasmon, Farley's, Smart Ones, The Budget Gourmet, Linda McCartney, San Marco, Go Ahead!, Bagel Bites, John West, Petit Navire, Boston Market, Skippy, Kibbles 'n Bits, Pounce, Wagwells, Nature's Recipe, Orlando, ABC, Olivine and Pudliszki. Information on Heinz is available at http://www.heinz.com. ABOUT THE HAIN CELESTIAL GROUP: The Hain Celestial Group, headquartered in Uniondale, NY, is a natural, specialty and snack food company. The Company is a leader in 13 of the top 15 natural food categories, with such well-known natural food brands as Celestial Seasonings teas, including Sleepytime(R), Lemon Zinger(R), Red Zinger(R), and Tension Tamer(R) varieties, Hain Pure Foods(R), Westbrae(R), Westsoy(R), Arrowhead Mills(R), Health Valley(R), Breadshop's(R), Casbah(R), Garden of Eatin(R), Terra Chips(R), DeBoles(R), Earth's Best(R), and Nile Spice. The Company's principal specialty product lines include Hollywood(R) cooking oils, Estee(R) sugar-free products, Weight Watchers(R) dry and refrigerated products, Kineret(R) kosher foods, Boston Better Snacks(R), and Alba Foods(R). The Hain Celestial Group's Internet websites are www.thehainfoodgroup.com and www.celestialseasonings.com.
SOURCE H. J. Heinz Company