US private equity firm Thomas H Lee Partners has announced that it has agreed to buy Minnesota-based food processor and distributor Michael Foods for around US$1.05bn.

Thomas Lee said it would buy Michael Foods, in partnership with management, from buyout firms Vestar Capital Partners and Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison and the founding Michael family.

Michael Foods processes and distributes foodservice and retail brands including Simply Potatoes, Better 'N Eggs and Diner's Choice, and had 2002 net sales of over $1.1bn.

The current owners of Michael Foods took the company private in April 2001 for around $800m, reported the New York Times.