Tyson Foods has agreed a deal to sell its Sara Lee Frozen Bakery and Van’s business to private equity firm Kohlberg & Company for an undisclosed sum, as the company seeks to move away from prepared foods and focus on its core protein business.
The sale will include the Chef Pierre, Bistro Collection and Van’s brands, and will also give Kohlberg & Company the right to use the Sara Lee in certain markets.
US manufacturing facilities operated by the businesses in Tarboro, North Carolina and Traverse City, Michigan will be included in the sale, as well as a sales office in Canada.
Around 1,160 members of staff are employed at the two manufacturing facilities and the sales office, and a statement from Tyson Foods said that all employees “are expected to keep their positions with the new company.”
Sally Grimes, group president of prepared foods at Tyson Foods said: “These are great assets with outstanding team members; however, we’re focused on expanding Tyson Foods’ leadership position in protein.
“We believe these brands and facilities will do well as part of Kohlberg, which has extensive experience buying and growing businesses.”
Tyson Foods announced earlier this year that the company would focus on its core protein business, and has recently offloaded its TNT Crust and Circle Foods businesses as part of this strategy.
Former Sara Lee North America CEO C.J. Fraleigh will be appointed as the executive chairman once the deal is concluded.
Fraleigh added: “I’m very excited to be joining the team. With established and iconic brands, including Sara Lee, Chef Pierre, Bistro Collection, and Van’s, this business is well-positioned to continue its historical growth trajectory.
“I look forward to working with the company’s employees to execute on growth opportunities we’ve identified and continue providing customers with excellent service, innovation and consistently high-quality products.”
Seth Hollander partner of Kohlberg said: “Kohlberg’s partnership with C.J., along with our depth of experience with food investments, creates an excellent opportunity to drive growth and value creation for all stakeholders.”
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