The Earthgrains Company (NYSE - EGR) announced Friday (18 May) a voluntary buy-sell program for shareholders holding fewer than 100 shares of common stock. For a nominal processing fee, shareholders with fewer than 100 shares of Earthgrains common stock as of May 4, 2001, may buy stock to reach 100 shares or sell all of their shares.

Many Earthgrains stockholders owning fewer than 100 shares received their shares as a result of the spin-off from Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., in March 1996. Many of these shareholders continue to hold their shares because of the cost of brokerage commissions or the inconvenience of buying or selling in small amounts.

The buy-sell program, administered by Georgeson Shareholder of New York, is voluntary and expires June 20, 2001, unless extended by Earthgrains. Participants will pay a processing fee of $1.25 per share, up to a maximum of $30, to defray the program's cost. Participating shareholders will pay or receive a uniform market-based price per share. Shares will be bought or sold on the open market through a designated broker. Earthgrains will neither buy nor sell any of the shares.

Program materials will be mailed today to all eligible shareholders. Questions should be directed to Georgeson Shareholder toll-free at (866) 727-0699.

Earthgrains, the maker of Earth Grains and IronKids brand breads, is the second-largest packaged bread producer in the United States. Earthgrains had sales of $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2001 and operates fresh bakery and refrigerated dough businesses in the United States and Europe.

More information about Earthgrains may be found on the company's corporate Internet web site at