Bimbo says D.O.J. talks on Sara Lee 'in final stages'

by Josh Sosland
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MEXICO CITY — Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. today said it expects its acquisition of the North American fresh bakery business of Sara Lee Corp. “to close in the coming weeks.”

The transaction has taken considerably longer than Bimbo anticipated. As recently as July 22, Bimbo had predicted a closing before the end of September. Before that, Bimbo executives in early June predicted a closing only a few weeks later, by June 30. Bimbo’s agreement to acquire the business from Sara Lee first was announced by the companies in November 2010.

In its statement today, Bimbo said it was in the midst of the “final stage of the negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice,” regarding the transaction. It was the first time Bimbo had specified it was negotiating with the D.O.J., which, in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission, handles anti-trust issues for the federal government.

In a brief, separate statement, Sara Lee Corp. expressed its “confidence that the transaction will close in the coming weeks.”

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