Heinz, Kraft to Become Food Giant Merger will make them continent's No. 3 food and beverage company By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff Posted Mar 25, 2015 6:28 AM CDT 36 comments Comments Kraft, Heinz to become one. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file) (Newser) – News that might interest those whose favorite pantry staples are ketchup and mac and cheese: Kraft Foods Group Inc. and H.J. Heinz Co. have announced they will merge in a deal that will create the Kraft Heinz Co.—the third largest food and beverage company on the continent and one that will be No. 5 in the world. Reuters reports Heinz shareholders will own 51% of the new company to Kraft shareholders's 49%. The Wall Street Journal explains the environment for the deal: one in which big-name makers of packaged, processed foods are struggling. To wit, Bloomberg Business notes that Kraft's recent history involves a 2012 spinoff from Mondelez International (which retained Kraft's snack foods) and subsequent difficultly in "[reigniting] sales growth"; top execs have exited since December. The deal will see Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian private-equity firm 3G Capital acquire Kraft and merge it with Heinz, which the two purchased in 2013. If 3G Capital isn't known to you ... it probably actually is: It acquired Burger King in 2010, and, through Burger King, Tim Hortons last year. The Journal describes 3G as "an acquisitive firm known for buying consumer companies it considers bloated and aggressively slashing costs." The AP reports the boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, which is slated to close in the second half of the year. It still needs approval from Kraft shareholders, who will receive stock in the combined company and a special cash dividend of approximately $10 billion, or $16.50 per share.