Sara Lee is in talks with Sagard over its French bakery operation

Sara Lee is in talks with Sagard over its French bakery operation

Sara Lee today (7 November) announced it is in talks with private equity firm Sagard over the sale of EuroDough, the company's European chilled dough business.

According to a statement, Sara Lee is considering an EUR115m (US$158m) offer from Sagard, adding that it expects the transaction to be completed within 90 days.

Eurodough produces ready-to-cook pastry products, has three production sites in France and approximately 430 employees. In fiscal 2011, the business generated net sales of $184m, according to the company.

The sale of Eurodough, which is based in France, is part of the company's wider divestment of its international bakery units. Earlier this month it completed the sale of its fresh bakery business in Spain and Portugal to Mexican food giant Grupo Bimbo.

In January, Sara Lee announced the company would split into two - a North American grocery retail and foodservice business and an international beverage maker.

"The divestiture of the European chilled dough business in France advances Sara Lee's announced strategy of creating two pure-play publicly traded companies poised for growth," said Jan Bennink, executive chairman of Sara Lee's board. "This transaction would complete the divestment of Sara Lee's European bakery operations and enable our international business to focus on its core coffee and tea activities."

The company added that, if the sale goes ahead, it will have received more than $1bn in proceeds from the sale of its North American and European bakery assets.

Antoine-Ernoult Dairaine, a partner at Sagard, said: "We are very happy to have been retained by Sara Lee. Eurodough has strong leadership positions in a sector offering attractive growth prospects."