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Kraft Foods agrees to divest controlling stake in Back to Nature brand

22-Aug-2012

Kraft Foods agrees to divest controlling stake in Back to Nature brand

Kraft Foods has agreed to divest a controlling stake in its Back to Nature brand food business for an undisclosed sum ahead of the company’s split in October.

Brynwood Partners said it had  that it has agreed to acquire the controlling stake in Back to Nature, which includes crackers, cookies, trail mixes and nuts, and granola, while Kraft Foods will continue to hold a substantial minority stake and have board representation in the resulting joint venture, according to a statement.

Terms and conditions of the deal have not been disclosed, but senior managing partner of Brynwood VI, Henk Hartong III, said: "This deal has a unique structure where a large consumer company like Kraft Foods has identified a way to partner with a specialist like Brynwood Partners to increase growth of a non-core asset while maintaining a significant financial interest. We think that this is a very forward-looking concept, and we are delighted to be Kraft's partner.

“…We are excited to work with Kraft in this unique joint venture between a private equity firm and a consumer products company formed to maximize the value of a smaller brand in its portfolio."

Management of Back to Nature-brand macaroni cheese will remain with Kraft Foods.

The transaction is Brynwood Partners' third with Kraft Foods.

Brynwood Partners said in a statement that it has “a well-established track record of reviving smaller brands or businesses that are divested from large corporations”, citing Turtles chocolate candy and Flipz chocolate covered pretzels, acquired from Nestlé USA, TrueNorth nut clusters and Kretschmer wheat germ, acquired from PepsiCo, and Balance Bar energy bars, acquired from Kraft Foods.

Kraft Foods announced earlier this month that October 1 is the date on which it intends to split into two separate companies, after which its global snacks group will take on the name Mondelez International and trade on NASDAQ as ‘MDLZ’, while the North American grocery business will become Kraft Foods Group, and trade as ‘KRFT’.

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