Sara Lee Sale Brings Supply Agreement, Furthers Restructuring

Chicago-based Sara Lee Corp. will sell PYA/Monarch, a leading foodservice operation, to U.S. Foodservice, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Ahold, the nearly $50 billion Dutch supermarket giant and one of the largest foodservice operators in the United States, for $1.57 billion in cash. The transaction also includes a supply agreement between Sara Lee's U.S. food and beverage manufacturing operations and Ahold. The sale is expected to close by the end of October. "With the direct sale of PYA/Monarch to Ahold, Sara Lee obtains cash now, eliminates market uncertainty, and secures a multi-year supply contract, creating significant value for Sara Lee shareholders," says C. Steven McMillan, Sara Lee CEO. "We received a valuation for PYA/Monarch that on an after-tax basis exceeds what we anticipated raising via an initial public offering, and we secured a supply agreement that will provide future top-line growth opportunities for our food and beverage manufacturing businesses in the United States." In May, Sara Lee announced a restructuring plan to narrow the company's focus on three branded consumer packaged goods segments: food and beverage, intimates and underwear, and household products.

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