Irish-Swiss food group Aryzta is to sell its North American operation to a company connected to private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg for USD850m. The company said the cash sale should be completed by the end of July. It also said more details on the deal would be announced alongside the earlier-than-scheduled publication of its half year results.
Aryzta’s North American business includes artisan bread brand La Brea and cookie and muffin brand Otis Spunkmeyer.
The company was put on the market late last year, along with its Latin American operations, as part of a plan to shrink its business and cut its debt levels. That decision came after a battle between the company and shareholders, that ended with a boardroom and management overhaul. It also followed multiple failed takeover approaches by private equity firm Elliott.
“This agreement represents a significant inflection point for Aryzta and vindication of our simplification strategy to the outright sale option,” said Aryzta chairman and interim CEO Urs Jordi. “Today’s transaction delivers significant debt reduction and balance sheet strength. It now allows us to focus on delivering further operational improvements and returning to organic growth.”
The North American sale is not the first transaction agreed by Aryzta management as part of its new strategy. In December it sold its North American pizza business, while in January it sold its remaining stake in French frozen food group Picard.