Report: Grupo Bimbo interested in Sara Lee Bakery
BakingBusiness.com, October 27, 2010
by Eric Schroeder

DOWNERS GROVE, ILL. — Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V., the world’s largest bread maker, has emerged as the lead bidder for the North American bakery business of Sara Lee Corp., according to an Oct. 26 article on Bloomberg.com.

Citing two people with knowledge of the bidding, Bloomberg said any transaction is probably still a few weeks away and may be in the range of $1 billion.

The news comes less than a month after an article appearing in the New York Post said the Downers Grove, Ill.-based company rejected an unsolicited takeover offer for the entire corporation for $12 billion made by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR & Co.)

Speculation that Grupo Bimbo is in the running for the Sara Lee bakery business follows by less than two years the former’s acquisition of the U.S. fresh bread and baked foods business of Dunedin Holdings, S.a.r.l., a subsidiary of George Weston Ltd., for about $2.4 billion. That deal, which gave Bimbo the Arnold, Brownberry, Entenmann’s, Freihofer, Stroehmann and Thomas’ brand names in the United States, vaulted Grupo Bimbo to the top spot as the largest baking company in North America. The $3.9 billion in annual sales easily eclipses the $2.2 billion in sales of Sara Lee North American Bakery and the $2.4 billion at Flowers Foods Inc.

Grupo Bimbo is the latest potential bidder to arise for the Sara Lee bakery business. Earlier, the New York Post quoted unnamed sources who claimed private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings, which earlier acquired Hostess Brands, may be interested in pursuing a deal for Sara Lee’s bakery business. In its Oct. 26 story, Bloomberg said sources now claim interest from Ripplewood has waned.