To focus its leadership efforts on the protein side of business, Tyson Foods has entered into an agreement with private equity firm Kohlberg & Company to sell some of its major brands. This sale includes the Chef Pierre®, Bistro Collection®, and Van’s® brands, as well as the license to use the Sara Lee® brand in certain channels. In addition to obtaining the brands, Kohlberg & Company is likely to obtain Tarboro, North Carolina- and Traverse City, Michigan-based prepared foods facilities and a sales office in Canada. The 1,160 employees at the two facilities and the sales office are expected to keep their roles as the new company takes over the spaces.
“These are great assets with outstanding team members; however, we’re focused on expanding Tyson Foods’ leadership position in protein,” Tyson’s Group President of Prepared Foods Sally Grimes said in a recent press release. “We believe these brands and facilities will do well as part of Kohlberg, which has extensive experience buying and growing businesses.”
C.J. Fraleigh, an expert on consumer products with more than 30 years of experience that includes executive roles, will become Executive Chairman upon closing and is partnering with Kohlberg during the process. Fraleigh served as CEO of Sara Lee – North America.
“I’m very excited to be joining the team. With established and iconic brands, including Sara Lee, Chef Pierre, Bistro Collection, and Van’s, this business is well-positioned to continue its historical growth trajectory. I look forward to working with the company’s employees to execute on growth opportunities we’ve identified and continue providing customers with excellent service, innovation, and consistently high-quality products,” Fraleigh expressed.
While the terms of agreement are not being disclosed, members of the Kohlberg team are excited for what this transition brings.
“Kohlberg’s partnership with C.J., along with our depth of experience with food investments, creates an excellent opportunity to drive growth and value creation for all stakeholders,” Partner of Kohlberg Seth Hollander said.
Deli Market News will continue to keep you updated on what Tyson’s new focus on protein and lightened load on the prepared foods side of business will mean for the industry at large.