Saputo Inc., Montreal, said it agreed to acquireFairmount Cheese Holdings Inc., the parent company ofDCI Cheese Company Inc., for US$270.5 million. Officials said they expect to close the deal in March.

Based in Richfield, Wis., DCI is one of the largest U.S. specialty cheese marketers, officials say. DCI sells and distributes specialty cheese from the cut and wrap facility located in Green Bay, Wis., and from a Carlstadt, N.J., distribution center. DCI also imports specialty cheeses and processes other retail spreads, salsa, hummus and dips in Santa Rosa, Calif. DCI has a total of approximately 475 employees.

DCI's product portfolio includes more than 100 types of domestic and imported specialty cheeses. DCI marketsproducts nationwide under a variety of brand names such as County Line, Great Midwest, Joan of Arc, King's Choice, Nikkos, Salemville, il Giardino and Organic Creamery, as well as under private labels.

Saputo officials said DCI complements itsSaputo Dairy Products Division (USA)and will "increase its presence in the specialty cheese category in the United States."

For the year ended December 31, 2010, DCI had sales of about US$460 million sales volumes of about 160 million pounds, said Saputo.