Moody's puts Heinz on review for possible downgrade

NEW YORK Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:57pm EST

NEW YORK Feb 14 (Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service on Thursday put H.J. Heinz Co's Baa2 long-term rating on review for a possible downgrade on worries an announced sale to Warren Buffett and Brazilian financier Jorge Paulo Lemann will add debt to the company.

"The review for downgrade reflects the possibility that the proposed transaction, which will be financed in part with new debt, will result in significantly higher financial leverage at Heinz," Moody's said in a statement.

Buffett and Lemann are teaming up to buy ketchup maker for $23.2 billion, in what could be the first step of a wave of mergers for the food and beverage industry.