Sara Lee to Buy Coffee Systems Rights

Sara Lee Corp is to buy full rights of Senseo coffee systems from Philips Electronics for 170 million euros ($220.5 million), its latest move intended to boost its international coffee and tea business, writes Reuters. Sara Lee, which is splitting itself into two companies, one of them an overseas coffee and tea business, had co-owned […]

Apollo Global Mgmt, Others Made An Approach To Sara Lee Corp. – Reuters

A group of buyout shops is interested in pursuing Sara Lee Corp. A source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Sunday that the group, which includes Apollo Global Management, made an approach to the food and beverage company. The Wall Street Journal reported the news earlier and said the group includes Bain Capital and TPG Capital.

Why Do PE Firms Want Sara Lee?

Sara Lee appears to want to remain independent, but the company is a perfect PE play and could succumb to a buyout.

Earlier this week, various media reports said that KKR and Apollo had made bids to buy all of Sara Lee and were rejected. It seems obvious that Sara Lee, which has a $9.52 billion market cap, is in play.

So why do buyout shops want Sara Lee? It’s the brands, say banking and buyout execs. Sara Lee has a treasure trove of products—including its Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park franks—that are known and loved by consumers. This makes sense to me, since I’ll always buy Sara Lee’s cheesecake no matter who owns it.

Barnes Departure To Have No Effect On Bread Auction

Brenda Barnes stepped down today as Sara Lee Corp.’s chairwoman and CEO, but her departure should have little effect on the company’s planned sale of its bread business.

Barnes, who has been on medical leave since May 14 because of a stroke, is leaving Sara Lee to focus on her health. The Downers Grove, Ill.-based company is now searching for a successor and is considering both internal and external candidates.

“This is no big news,” says one banker. “It was expected that she would leave for health reasons.”

Barnes has been CEO for five years. Under her tenure, Sara Lee has sold off several units, including its body-care business and air-freshener unit. In July, Sara Lee put its North American bread unit up for sale. BofA was hired to advise on the auction.

Sara Lee’s Bread Unit Sale Won’t Sizzle

Sara Lee’s proposed sale of its bread business will generate some interest from strategics and private equity firms, but don’t expect a hot bake-off.

Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sara Lee, which seems to be always selling something, has hired Bank of America to advise on options for its food and bakery unit for around $1 billion, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Pepperidge Farms, which is owned by Cambpell Soup Co., has showed interest in the unit, Crain’s says. Other potential bidders include Grupo Bimbo S.A. de C.V. and Flowers Foods Inc.

Canada’s George Weston, which owns Loblaw Co. Ltd. and Weston Foods, also could make a bid, one banker said. As for private equity names, there is Hostess Brands (fka Interstate Bakeries), which is 50% owned by Ripplewood Holdings.

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