Lactalis has signed an agreement to sell the cheese brand Polly-O to US-based Italian-style cheese firm BelGioioso.
The French dairy major acquired Polly-O in a deal struck last year with Kraft Heinz for a selection of cheese brands in the US. However, after a competition review, Lactalis had to sell some of the assets.
“These disposals should allow Lactalis to advance on regulatory approval and finalise the acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s natural cheese activities in the United States before the end of 2021,” Lactalis said in a statement.
The US$3.2bn deal with Kraft Heinz included the brands Breakstone’s, Athenos, Knudsen, Polly-O and Hoffman’s, along with the US licensing rights for Cracker Barrel. Lactalis also acquired the rights to Cheez Whiz outside the US and Canada.
Kraft Heinz kept the Philadelphia cream cheese, Kraft Singles, Velveeta processed cheese and Cheez Whiz businesses in the US and Canada under its wings.
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In the US, Lactalis markets brands such as President, Galbani and Siggi’s. Financial terms for the Polly-O brand were not disclosed.
BelGioioso Cheese is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and produces cheeses such as mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and fresh curds for the US retail and foodservice channels. Founded in 1979, its brands include La Bottega BioGioioso and Casaro.
BelGioioso said in a statement the Polly-O brand has net sales of around $177m.
Its president Errico Auricchio said: “We are thrilled to add the Polly-O brand to our portfolio and want to thank the teams at Kraft Heinz and Lactalis Group for their assistance and dedication to finalising the agreement in such a short time.
“I am confident this will benefit consumers thanks to healthy competition in the category as a result of this acquisition.”