Tyson Seals Deal to Sell Sara Lee and Van’s Businesses

Tyson Foods has entered into an agreement to sell its Sara Lee Frozen Bakery and Van’s businesses to private equity firm Kohlberg & Company for an undisclosed price. The Van’s unit produces and markets a retail line of frozen breakfast products ranging from waffles and pancakes to french toast sticks, as well as cereals and snack items.

The deal includes the Chef Pierre, Bistro Collection and Van’s brands, as well as a license to use the Sara Lee label in certain channels. It also includes the sale of the company’s prepared foods facilities in Tarboro, North Carolina and Traverse City, Michigan, and a sales office in Canada. Approximately 1,160 people employed at the facilities 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,” said Sally Grimes, group president of the Springdale, Arkansas-headquartered company’s prepared foods division. “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 in the field, previously served as chief executive officer of Sara Lee – North America.