MEXICO CITY — Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. has agreed to purchase Sara Lee Corp.’s fresh bakery business in Spain and Portugal for about €115 million ($154 million).
“This acquisition underscores our international growth strategy and bolsters our vision of becoming a global leader in the baking industry,” said Daniel Servitje, chief executive officer of Grupo Bimbo. “It will also give us the opportunity to unite the Bimbo brand on both sides of the Atlantic along with the transfer of know-how between the two companies and commitment of our new Spanish and Portuguese associates.”
The agreement includes all Sara Lee fresh bakery brands, including Bimbo, Martinez, Ortiz and Silueta, in Spain and Portugal along with seven manufacturing facilities. In fiscal 2011, the Sara Lee fresh bakery business in Spain had net sales of $408 million.
“The move to Grupo Bimbo is a natural next step that can benefit the Sara Lee bakery team and brands in Spain and Portugal as they would become part of an organization fully dedicated to the bakery category,” said Jan Bennink, executive chairman of the board for Sara Lee. “Divesting the bakery business allows Sara Lee’s international portfolio to become simpler and more focused on coffee and tea, the categories around which we are building a leading pure-play international company.”
The transaction is expected to close within 60 days and comes at the same time Grupo Bimbo is also working to acquire Sara Lee’s North American fresh bakery business. Grupo Bimbo last week 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.
Ralcorp just finished its acquisition of Sara Lee’s North American private brand refrigerated dough business.