Sara Lee Corporation announced today that the company has sold its U.K. bakery business, which manufactures, markets and distributes frozen baked goods under the Sara Lee name and private label brands, to Dublin-based Hibernia Foods PLC. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000, Sara Lee's U.K. bakery business generated sales of approximately US$75 million (UK(pound)50 million). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In January 2001, Sara Lee stated its intent to divest eight non-core or underperforming businesses, including the U.K. bakery operation. These divestitures are part of the company's reshaping program, which is designed to focus the company's resources on the future growth of a smaller number of business positions. The sale of the U.K. bakery business completes those eight divestitures.

Hibernia, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, and has significant manufacturing facilities in the northeast and southwest of England, is a leading manufacturer of branded cakes and ready-meals - including the Hibernia, Majestic, Mr. Brain's and Napolina brands - and private-label frozen desserts, ready-meals and savory products. Hibernia is also the exclusive European license holder for the Entenmann's brand of fresh baked cakes. Sara Lee Corporation will license the Sara Lee bakery brand to Hibernia for use in the U.K. and Ireland.

"The divestiture of Sara Lee Bakery U.K. further illustrates our commitment to reshaping our portfolio to focus on businesses that have the greatest potential for growth and can deliver shareholder value," said C. Steven McMillan, president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation. "The European bakery market is extremely fragmented and does not offer strong opportunities for building a pan-European branded bakery position."

In May 2000, Sara Lee Corporation announced a major reshaping of its business portfolio to strengthen the company's stature as a global leader in the branded consumer packaged goods sector. The company is narrowing its business portfolio to focus on a smaller number of segments - Food and Beverage, Intimates and Underwear, and Household Products. By doing so, Sara Lee will become a more competitive company with a focused vision and increased resources to apply toward the future growth of its remaining positions.

Sara Lee plans to use the proceeds generated from divestitures - estimated to be between $2.5 billion and $3 billion - to repurchase stock, retire debt and fund future acquisitions.

Sara Lee Corporation is a global branded consumer packaged goods company with approximately $17.5 billion in annual revenues. Its leading brands include Sara Lee, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Kiwi, Hanes and Playtex.