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Tyson Sells Sara Lee Brand to Private-Equity Firm

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Tyson Foods Inc. said on June 1 it will sell its Sara Lee Frozen Bakery and Van’s brands to private-equity firm Kohlberg & Co. Inc. for an undisclosed amount. The company first put the brands up for sale more than a year go to focus on core brands such as Tyson, Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm.

Kohlberg will acquire Tyson Foods’ Chef Pierre, Bistro Collection and Van’s brands, as well as a license to use the Sara Lee label in various channels. The deal also includes Tyson Foods’ prepared foods facilities in Tarboro, N.C., and Traverse City, Mich., and a sales office in Canada.

“These are great assets with outstanding team members; however, we’re focused on expanding Tyson Foods’ leadership position in protein,” said Sally Grimes, group president of prepared foods of Tyson Foods. “We believe these brands and facilities will do well as part of Kohlberg, which has extensive experience buying and growing businesses.”

C.J. Fraleigh, a consumer products professional and former CEO of Sara Lee-North America, will join Kohlberg as executive chairman at the deal’s closing.

“With established and iconic brands, including Sara LeeChef PierreBistro Collection and Van’s, this business is well-positioned to continue its historical growth trajectory,” said Fraleigh. “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.”

This marks Tyson Foods’ first structural change of 2018. Last year, the company acquired ready-to-eat meal company AdvancePierre Food Holdings Inc.and cheese steak producer Philly Holdings Inc. in April and November, respectively.

Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods produces, markets and exports chicken, beef and pork. Its brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells and State Fair. The company was founded in 1935.

Kohlberg & Co. is a private equity firm headquartered in Mount Kisco, N.Y. The 31-year-old company has eight private-equity funds, through which it has raised $7.5 billion of committed equity capital.

Brett Dworski


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