South Korean food manufacturer CJ Cheiljedang has said it will buy US frozen food firm Schwan’s for around $1.84 billion as it continues to expand overseas.
CJ Cheiljedang will acquire 80% of Schwan’s, in what represents the largest foreign merger and acquisition deal carried out by CJ Group. It is expected the deal will be closed next year.
Based in Minnesota, Schwan’s sells mainly frozen foods, including pizza and desserts. Its brands include Red Baron, Tony’s, and Freschetta pizza, and Mrs. Smith’s and Edwards desserts.
The business reportedly ranks second in the US frozen pizza retail market. It records around $3 billion in annual sales and has approximately 14,000 employees.
The firms said Schwan’s would keep its name, its corporate office in Bloomington and its main operations in Marshall, both in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s The Star Tribune quoted Schwan’s CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios as saying: “Obviously there’s a certain amount of nervousness with a sale. We are going to operate business as usual in Marshall, business as usual in Bloomington, business as usual in Minnesota.”
The acquisition comes months after CJ Cheiljedang boosted its foreign business with the purchase of US firm Kahiki Foods and Germany’s Mainfrost.
As well as selling packaged food, CJ Cheiljedang also runs the Bibigo chain of Asian fast-food restaurants in California.
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