NEW YORK--General Mills' $6.1 billion purchase of Pillsbury from Diageo PLC was allowed to move forward Tuesday when the FTC failed to produce a majority vote against the merger. The 2-2 vote, which split on party lines, was conducted without commission chairman Timothy Muris, who recused himself because he recently worked for a law firm that represented General Mills.
If approved by stockholders, the new company will have combined annual sales of about $13 billion, making it the world's fifth-largest packaged food company. Under the agreement, General Mills also will assume $5.3 billion in debt.
In a joint statement, General Mills and Diageo said they "are committed to completing the acquisition of Pillsbury, and to consummating the divestiture to International Multifoods Corp. on the terms submitted to the Federal Trade Commission as soon as possible."