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Fruity Pebbles maker combines with Malt-O-Meal cereals, moves HQ to MN

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The makers of Malt-O-Meal and Fruity Pebbles are becoming one company.

Three months after completing a $1.15 million takeover of MOM Brands cereal, a statement from Post Holdings Inc. on Friday said the company plans to consolidate its Post Foods and MOM cereal businesses into one group.

And in a boost for Minnesota, the newly restructured organization – which will be called Post Consumer Brands – will be headquartered in Lakeville at MOM Brands' existing facilities.

"Combining our businesses in Lakeville will create a powerful branded platform for both branded cereal and further acquisitions," Rob Vitale, Post Holdings' President and CEO, said in the company statement.

The move will impact about 200 jobs when Post closes its office in Parsippany, New Jersey.

St. Louis-based Post recently closed on its $1.15 billion purchase of MOM Brands, a privately held company known for its lower-priced bagged cereals that are often knock-offs of bigger, better-known brands. MOM Brands has grown steadily over the past 15 years, and is a strong player in the low-price segment of the cold cereal business.

The company began in Minnesota as Malt-O-Meal and has operated a plant in Northfield for decades, making it one of the city's largest employers.

Earlier this week, the Northfield News said that "it is unknown how the acquisition will affect the hundreds of workers in the Northfield facilities," noting that a company spokeswoman did not comment on an inquiry about the plant.

The Star Tribune notes that Post's takeover had initially created a "spasm of uncertainty" for the 250 people employed at MOM's Lakeville office and the 650 employed in Northfield.

The Wall Street Journal's analysis notes that the deal was struck as breakfast-cereal makers, including Golden Valley-based General Mills, have been adjusting to "...changing eating habits of Americans that have driven down overall sales for breakfast cereal."

The Journal story goes on to note that the breakfast shift has prompted business changes, with cereal companies purchasing companies in other food categories. The story noted that one of the companies Post acquired is Minnesota-based Michael Foods, which makes All Whites egg whites and Crystal Farms dairy products.

Post's acquisition of MOM in February was opposed by some food groups, who cited competition concerns given that MOM has made a business out of making cheaper versions of Post brands, including Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, and Honeycomb cereals.

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