Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire VIAU Foods, a Canadian producer of premium Italian cooked, dry-cured and charcuterie meats, for a purchase price of $215 million, including $30 million in Maple Leaf stock.

Founded in 1977, VIAU produces value-added prepared meat products, including sausages, pizza toppings, shaved steak, meatballs, dry-cured pepperoni, pancetta and sliced chorizo under the VIAU and Fantino & Mondello brands. The company markets its products throughout retailers in Canada and is a supplier of dried pepperoni and other pizza toppings to the North American food service industry. VIAU had sales of $180 million over the last 12 months.

“VIAU brings a portfolio of leading brands, a reputation for innovation and quality, skilled management and people, and excellent manufacturing assets,” said Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Foods. “This acquisition expands Maple Leaf’s position in the growing market for premium dry-cured and pepperoni meat products and provides further production capacity in Quebec, an important strategic base to grow both Canadian and U.S. sales. It also enables VIAU to expand its portfolio to include raised without antibiotic products, leveraging Maple Leaf's leadership in this growing market.”

The transaction is expected to close in December, subject to regulatory review. VIAU Foods will continue to be led by its current management team following the close of the deal. The company has 470 employees at two facilities in Laval and Montreal.

“It is with great pride that we join the Maple Leaf family,” said Pat De Marco, president and chief operating officer of VIAU. “Our quality and food safety culture fits perfectly with Maple Leaf, the company that, for years, we have regarded as the Canadian industry leader. The resources that Maple Leaf brings will allow us to more quickly grow our business, provide additional product offerings to our customers, make further inroads into the U.S. market, and provide more opportunities to our people. We are truly excited about the future possibilities.”