W. Galen Weston, Chairman of George Weston Limited (TSE: WN), announced yesterday that all regulatory requirements have been satisfied with respect to Weston’s acquisition of Bestfoods Baking Co., Inc. from Unilever and that the transaction has now closed.

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George Weston Ltd

On closing, Richard J. Currie, President of George Weston Limited, announced the appointment of Gary J. Prince, President of Weston Foods, Inc. as President of Bestfoods Baking Co., Inc., which will be renamed George Weston Bakeries Inc.

Mr. Currie further announced Weston would immediately begin exploring opportunities to sell the Oroweat brand and the six bakeries in Texas, Colorado, California and Oregon. Total sales of the assets to be sold were approximately US$550 million in 2000. The Company is retaining all other baking assets acquired as part of the Bestfoods Baking transaction.

Weston believes the sale of these assets will focus its core baking assets and geographies in the eastern half of the U.S., maximize the impact of the synergies from the Bestfoods Baking transaction, and maximize the opportunities for the Oroweat brand.

Mr. Prince announced that Merrill E. Eastman, President of Bestfoods Baking, would stay with George Weston Bakeries Inc. as a Special Consultant to help ensure a smooth transition and integration of the businesses.

Mr. Prince further announced that Antonio (Tony) L. Leta, formerly Vice President-Sales, would become Vice President and General Manager of Stroehmann Bakeries, L.C., effective immediately.

Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to George Weston on the sale of the Oroweat business.

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