Aryzta completes sale of its North American business earlier than estimated
Deal worth $850m included La Brea, Otis Spunkmeyer and Fresh Start bakeries
The bakery group, which owns the Cuisine de France label here and supplies Subway and McDonald’s, is set to issue its third-quarter revenue update on June 1st. Photograph: iStock
Swiss-Irish bakery group Aryzta said it has completed the sale of its North American business to an affiliate of US private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg.
The transaction, which had a price tag of $850 million (€706 million), has been completed early, with initial estimates putting the completion date before the end of July.
Urs Jordi, chairman and interim chief executive of Aryzta, welcomed the early conclusion of the deal, saying it allowed management to fully focus on following through on the delivery of improved business operational performance and returning to organic growth.
The group’s North American business includes artisan bread brand La Brea, cookie and muffin brand Otis Spunkmeyer and Fresh Start bakeries, which was previously owned by Lindsay Goldberg. The cash sale involved 15 facilities and 4,000 employees.
Last year it resisted an attempted takeover by US hedge fund Elliott, which had valued the group at €734 million.
At the time, Mr Jordi said the company was better off staying independent and following a strategy of simplifying the business and selling off non-core assets to reduce its debt.
The company has been battling a collapse in investor confidence linked to its ailing US business, its €1 billion net debt and complex capital structure.
A boardroom coup in September saw many of the board ousted in favour of candidates put forward by the company’s largest shareholders, Cobas and Veraison. Chief executive Kevin Toland resigned in November.
Prior to his exit, Mr Toland presided over an extensive restructuring programme, overseeing almost €400 million of asset sales, reducing net debt, and pursuing a cost-cutting programme.