CHICAGO — McCain Foods (Aust) Pty. Ltd. has agreed to acquire 100% of the shares of the Kitchens of Sara Lee frozen bakery business from Hillshire Brands, a move that paves the way for the company to expand its range of products across desserts, meals and snacking occasions.

The transaction is valued at approximately $85 million, and includes license rights to certain intellectual property used in the Australian bakery business in the Asia-Pacific region. The acquisition also includes Kitchens of Sara Lee’s manufacturing, marketing, distribution and exporting of frozen desserts.

Sara Lee opened the Kitchens of Sara Lee at Lisarow, on the New South Wales Central Coast, in 1971. The business was established to supply Sara Lee products not only to Australia but to the entire Indian Ocean, South East Asia, and Pacific regions. Today, the company manufactures, sells and distributes a range of Sara Lee branded products in the frozen desserts, super premium ice cream, pastries, frozen savory meals and frozen fruit categories. The company employs about 500 people at the Lisarow facility.

“Sara Lee will be a great addition to our family of frozen foods, offering our customers an expanded range of products across desserts, meals and snack occasions,” said Steve Yung, managing director of McCain Australia/New Zealand. “Sara Lee is a recognized and trusted brand that is highly complementary to our business.”

Sean Connolly, chief executive officer of Hillshire Brands, said the sale of the Australian bakery business enables Hillshire “to focus on driving growth and innovation in our retail and food service segments in North America.”