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The Associated Press February 25, 2010, 5:47PM ET

Diamond Foods to buy maker of Kettle chips

Diamond Foods, seller of Emerald nuts and Pop Secret popcorn, said Thursday that it would buy the maker of Kettle potato chips for $615 million.

Diamond plans to buy Kettle Foods Inc.'s operations in the U.S. and U.K. from Lion Capital LLP, in a deal funded with cash, a new $600 million credit line and an upcoming stock offering.

The deal is expected to close by the end of Diamond's fiscal 2010 year. It expects the acquisition to add to profit in fiscal 2011, which it expects to be in the range of $2.25 to $2.35 per share, assuming the deal closes.

Kettle Foods was founded in Salem, Ore., in 1978 and expanded to the U.K. in 1989. It has factories in Beloit, Wis.; Norwich, U.K.; and Salem.

Diamond is based in San Francisco.

Diamond's shares fell 28 cents to $38.43 in after-hours trading Thursday after closing regular trading down 53 cents at $38.71.

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