Sara Lee expands in tea with acquisition

by Staff
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UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS — Sara Lee Corp. has acquired Tea Forte for an undisclosed sum.

Sara Lee said it hopes to grow its presence in the luxury tea segment with the acquisition.

“Acquiring Tea Forte fits perfectly into our strategy to spin off ‘CoffeeTeaCo’ as a pure-play coffee and tea company poised for strong growth,” said Jan Bennink, executive chairman of the board for Sara Lee Corp.

Based in Concord, Mass., Tea Forte had revenue of $12 million in 2011. Its products can be found in hotels, restaurants, resorts, luxury retailers and natural and specialty stores in 35 countries, and the company said it is known for the quality of its handcrafted teas, its packaging and opulent approach. It was founded in 2003 by designer Peter Hewitt. CoffeeTeaCo will keep the current management team of Tea Forte to run the business before integrating it into its international coffee and tea operations.

“Tea Forte’s expertise in ultra-premium teas complements our existing business with leading brands across Europe and boosts our innovation capabilities in the tea category,” said Michiel Herkemij, chief executive officer of Sara Lee International Beverage.

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