The Duluth (Minn.) News Tribunesaid that just one day before his Nov. 24 death, Jeno Paulucci agreed to sell Bellisio Foods Inc., according to Joel Conner, the company’s chairman and CEO.

Conner told the newspaper he was uncomfortable identifying the prospective buyer, a New York-based private equity firm, until after the transaction closed. Conner said officials planned to finalize the deal by year's end, barring complications.

Bellisio, Minneapolis, is one of the nation's largest retail frozen entree and snack processors under the Michelina's and Michelina's Lean Gourmet brands. the company reportedly employs about 1,500 people with offices and facilities in Duluth and Lakeville, Minn. (Arden Culinary); as well as a primary food plant in Jackson, Ohio.