UPDATE: US: Kraft's Back to Nature sale to drive growth
Kraft said Brynwood can give the brand "greater attention"
Kraft Foods has indicated the sale of its majority stake in the Back to Nature brand will better position the business for future growth.
The sale of the shares to private-equity firm Brynwood Partners comes ahead of Kraft's plans to split its snacks and grocery businesses in October.
It will result in the formation of a separate joint venture between Kraft and Brynwood. Kraft's snack business - which will be named Mondelez International - will retain a "substantial minority stake" in Back to Nature and will have board representation.
"This transaction is being made in the context of our spin-off. Back to Nature is a great brand but it is relatively small within our snacks portfolio. Brynwood will be able to provide it with greater attention and focus to drive growth," a spokesperson for Kraft told just-food. "We think this transaction will be of benefit to both companies. By separating, Back to Nature will be better positioned to grow and by retaining a stake in the business Mondelez will benefit from that growth."
Back to Nature will "initially" produce natural crackers, cookies, trail mixes and nuts and granola in the US, although Brynwood indicated it plans to expand the brand into complementary categories.
In North America, Mondelez will continue to manufacture its Bizco, Ritz, Chips Ahoy and Oreo crackers and cookies, the spokesperson confirmed.
Kraft will retain management of the existing Back to Nature macaroni and cheese business, which falls under the auspices of Kraft's US grocery business, which will be called Kraft Foods Group.
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