Unilever sells North America frozen meals business to ConAgra Foods

LONDON — Unilever has put its North America frozen meals business on the sales block.

The company said it has signed a definitive agreement for the sale of its portfolio — which includes multiserve frozen entrees and appetizers under the Bertolli and P.F. Chang's brands — to ConAgra Foods for a total cash consideration of $265 million. The transaction, subject to regulatory review and expected to close in third quarter 2012, includes a license for the use of the Bertolli brand name and the transfer of Unilever's existing license with P.F. Chang's for use of the P.F. Chang's Home Menu brand name. It does not, however, include Unilever's facility in Owensboro, Ky., at which the Bertolli and P.F. Chang's frozen meals currently are produced. Unilever will retain the Bertolli trademark and continue its existing pasta sauce business, with manufacturing operations remaining at its Kentucky facility.

Unilever's decision to divest the frozen meals business is in line with its global strategy to exit the frozen foods business. The company previously divested its European frozen foods business.

"Bertolli and P.F. Chang's frozen meals are two attractive businesses with a focus on quality ingredients and differentiated technology," Unilever North America president Kees Kruythoff said. "I am confident they will continue to do well under ConAgra Foods' management."

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