Diamond Foods Inc. is buying Procter & Gamble Co.'s Pringles chips business in a $1.5 billion deal, the biggest in a string of acquisitions that have given the maker of Pop Secret popcorn and Kettle chips a growing share of the snack aisle.

The deal also completes P&G's exit from all its major food businesses. The maker of Tide and Pampers has sold off Folgers coffee, Jif peanut butter, Crisco Shortening and Sunny Delight drinks in recent years.

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The Pringles deal is structured to create a new company under the Diamond Foods name.

P&G shareholders will get about 57 percent of the combined company, while Diamond shareholders will own about 43 percent.

Diamond, founded in 1912 by a group of California walnut growers, was known for nuts in shells for most of its history. But since Diamond went public in 2005, an acquisition binge has broadened its array of snacks. It scooped up Pop Secret in 2008 and Kettle last year.

The Pringles transaction will dwarf those deals, more than tripling Diamond's revenue to about $2.4 billion a year. The addition moves Diamond from a smaller business with a handful of strong niche products to a competitor with the likes of PepsiCo Inc.'s Frito-Lay and Kraft Foods Inc.

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.."Pringles is an iconic, billion-dollar snack brand with significant global manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure," Diamond Chairman, President and