Sara Lee

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EU regulators OK Unilever purchase of Sara Lee unit

The European Commission Wednesday cleared consumer-goods giant Unilever PLC to buy Sara Lee Corp.’s personal care unit, but stipulated that the antitrust approval depends on the sale of Sara Lee’s Sanex bath, shower and deodorants brand in Europe. Get the full story »

Sara Lee not craving U.S. coffee deals

Sara Lee Corp. will not rush to make acquisitions in the U.S. coffee market, even as it revamps its business to focus on coffee and meat, its interim chief executive said.

Speculation about deals in the U.S. coffee business has circulated since earlier this month when Starbucks Corp said it wanted to end its distribution deal with Kraft Foods Inc, which has sold bagged Starbucks coffee at supermarkets for the past 12 years. Get the full story »

Former Sara Lee CEO Barnes appears at RIC event

From the Chicago Sun-Times | Former Sara Lee CEO Brenda Barnes attended the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s SkyRise event to give her two sons and daughters — part of Team Brenda — a medal for walking up 103 floors of the Willis Tower. “It’s been six months since my mom first had a stroke, and it’s been a long road for us,” Barnes’ daughter, Erin, said at the finish line. Get the full story >>

Starbucks to sell coffee machines, capsules in U.S.

Starbucks Corp. plans to launch coffee machines in the U.S. to ensure growth in the consumer packaged goods market.

The Seattle-based coffee chain is looking to expand its presence in the U.S. consumer packaged goods arena and will sell single-service coffee machines and instant coffee pods to accompany them, Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz said in an interview Friday. The timeline for the product’s rollout hasn’t yet been determined, Schultz said. Get the full story »

Sara Lee selling bread unit to Grupo Bimbo

A shopper passes shelves of Sara Lee bread at a Chicago market . (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Sara Lee Corp. is selling its North American Fresh bakery unit to baking company Grupo Bimbo for $959 million as it looks to concentrate more on its coffee and meat businesses.

The Downers Grove-based maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Sara Lee breads said Tuesday that the sale will allow it to aggressively expand other businesses through acquisitions and other means. Get the full story »

Sara Lee near bakery sale to Grupo Bimbo

A deal whereby Sara Lee Corp sells its North American bakery business to Mexico’s Grupo Bimbofor $900 million to $1 billion could be announced this week, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. Get the full story »

Sara Lee declares dividend, mum on CEO search

At Sara Lee’s annual meeting Thursday morning, the Downers Grove-based company offered no update on its search for a chief executive and declined to comment on the possible sale of its bread business.

The company did declare a regular quarterly dividend of $0.115 per share, up 4.5 percent, bringing the annual dividend to 46 cents. Get the full story »

Sara Lee bakery business eyed by Grupo Bimbo

Grupo Bimbo is the lead bidder to buy Sara Lee Corp.’s North American bread business for about $1 billion, though a deal could be several weeks away, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.

Sara Lee, which declined to comment, had said last month it planned to spend more on its North American bakery business and raise some prices as it looks to improve performance in that lagging business.

That announcement to invest in the business had come after some suitors walked away from the bakery auction, sources familiar with the situation previously told Reuters. Get the full story »

Apollo approached Sara Lee about buyout

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management approached food company Sara Lee about six weeks with regards to a deal, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

It was unclear if anything will come of that approach.

A deal would likely to have been struck in conjunction with investor C. Dean Metropoulos, a Connecticut entrepreneur known for reinvigorating food brands, who is an operating partner of Apollo, the source said. Get the full story »

Sara Lee’s Brenda Barnes got $11.5 million in 2010

Brenda Barnes, the former chairman and CEO of Sara Lee Corp., received compensation valued at $11.5 million in the company’s most recent fiscal year, up 8 percent from the prior year, according to an Associated Press analysis of documents filed with regulators this week.

Bread remains work in progress at Sara Lee

At its annual Meet the Management Analyst Day in New York Tuesday, Sara Lee presented itself as holding company-turned operating company with a string of successes in growing, high-margin businesses and a handful of struggling ones in need of work.
 The maker of Hillshire Farm sausage and Senseo coffee touted them its biggest successes — North American meats and European coffee — and laid out cases for fixing its problem areas, including International Bakery, North American Bakery and North American Foodservice. Get the full story »

Sara Lee affirms 2011 outlook

Sara Lee Corp. on Tuesday reaffirmed its 2011 financial outlook and said it is weighing external and internal candidates for its top job. Get the full story »

Corn syrup makers want sweeter name: Corn sugar

The makers of high fructose corn syrup want to sweeten up its image with a new name: corn sugar. The bid to rename the sweetener by the Corn Refiners Association comes as Americans’ concerns about health and obesity have sent consumption of high fructose corn syrup to a 20-year low.

The group plans to apply Tuesday to the Food and Drug Administration to get “corn sugar” approved as an alternative name for food labels. Get the full story »

Higher coffee prices ahead, futures up 44%

A trifecta of bad news has sent coffee futures soaring 44 percent since June, and companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Green Mountain and Maxwell House are passing on those costs. Bad weather in South America is threatening crops. Brazil and top exporter Vietnam are talking about hoarding their stocks. And U.S. stockpiles are reportedly at 10-year lows. Get the full story »

EU regulators to review Sara Lee-S.C. Johnson deal

EU regulators will review a bid by bug spray maker S.C. Johnson to purchase Sara Lee Corp.’s remaining insecticide business at the request of national watchdogs, the European Commission said on Wednesday. Sara Lee announced the $200 million deal in June as part of a strategy of focusing on selling food, coffee and tea. Get the full story »