Sara Lee Corporation announced today that it has signed an agreement for the acquisition of St. Louis-based The Earthgrains Company for $40.25 per Earthgrains share, payable in cash. The total value of the acquisition, including the assumption of Earthgrains' outstanding debt, is $2.8 billion. With the acquisition of Earthgrains, Sara Lee more than quadruples its annual bakery sales to become the nation's second-largest fresh bread company, and gains a strong distribution system to extend its Sara Lee brand franchise.