Unilever has sold its North America frozen meals business to ConAgra Foods for $265 million.
Unilever’s North America frozen meals business consists of a range of premium, multi-serve frozen entrees and appetisers under the well-known Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s brand names.
The transaction, subject to regulatory review, 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 include Unilever’s facility in Owensboro, Kentucky, at which the Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s frozen meals are currently produced. Unilever will retain the Bertolli trademark and continue its existing pasta sauce business, with manufacturing operations remaining at its Kentucky facility.
“Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s frozen meals are two attractive businesses with a focus on quality ingredients and differentiated technology,” said Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America. “I am confident they will continue to do well under ConAgra Foods’ management.”
The company said that its decision to divest its North American frozen meals business is in line with its global strategy to exit the frozen foods business. Unilever previously divested its European frozen foods business after concluding that consumers were increasingly abandoning frozen foods in favour of fresh and chilled foods.
In 2011, the combined Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s brands had turnover of approximately $300 million. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012.