Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Ark., announced plans to sell its Sara Lee Frozen Bakery and Van’s businesses to private equity firm Kohlberg & Co., Mount Kisco, N.Y.
The sale includes the Chef Pierre, Bistro Collection and Van’s brands and a license to use the Sara Lee brand in certain channels. The deal also includes the sale of the company’s Tarboro, N.C., and Traverse City, Mich., prepared foods facilities and a sales office in Canada. The 1,160 team members employed at the two facilities and sales office are expected to keep their positions with the new company.
“These are great assets with outstanding team members, however, we’re focused on expanding Tyson Foods’ leadership position in protein,” says Sally Grimes, group president, prepared foods. “We believe these brands and facilities will do well as part of Kohlberg, which has extensive experience buying and growing businesses.”
Kohlberg is partnering with C.J. Fraleigh, who will join as executive chairman at closing. Fraleigh, a long-time consumer products executive with over 30 years of experience, previously served as chief executive officer of Sara Lee – North America, before Sara Lee was acquired by The Hillshire Brands Co., Chicago, which then merged with Tyson Foods.
“I’m very excited to be joining the team,” adds Fraleigh. “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.”
“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,” adds Seth Hollander, partner of Kohlberg.