Sara Lee Corporation announced today that it has completed the acquisition of U.K. apparel manufacturer and marketer Courtaulds Textiles plc (“Courtaulds”). Under the terms of the acquisition, Sara Lee will pay Courtaulds’ shareholders U.K.(pound)1.45 (U.S. $2.21) cash per share, valuing the company’s existing share capital at approximately U.K.(pound)150.5 million (U.S. $230 million).
The transaction was completed following approval by the European Commission and acceptance by Courtaulds’ shareholders. Separately, on May 30, Sara Lee announced its intention to sell the INTERNATIONAL FABRICS division of Courtaulds as part of a reshaping initiative to tighten Sara Lee’s focus on a smaller number of global branded consumer packaged goods segments.
“This acquisition and disposition is consistent with the reshaped vision we announced recently and is an important part of our effort to drive growth in our Intimates and Underwear business segment,” said Steve McMillan, president and chief operating officer of Sara Lee Corporation. McMillan will assume the role of president and chief executive officer July 1. “The acquisition of Courtaulds will expand our presence in the important U.K. market.”
The UK’s largest producer of intimate apparel and underwear, Courtaulds has annual sales of $1.5 billion. Sara Lee will continue to operate the company under the Courtaulds name, which produces and markets such brand names as Gossard, Berlei and Aristoc.
Courtaulds is also a leading supplier of private-label apparel throughout the U.K. and to British retailer Marks & Spencer, producing underwear and intimate apparel under the store’s own well-known brand, St. Michael.
“With the addition of Courtaulds, Sara Lee now has a very strong distribution network in place in the U.K. that will help drive our growth in Europe. This strategy is in step with our goal of improving margins and providing increased shareholder returns,” McMillan said.
Sara Lee’s existing European apparel business includes leading brands in select intimates and underwear categories: intimate apparel (Dim, Wonderbra, Playtex and Pretty Polly); underwear (Dim, Hanes, Abanderado and Princesa); and legwear (Dim, Filodoro and Pretty Polly).
Sara Lee Corporation (www.saralee.com) is a global consumer packaged goods company with more than $20 billion in annual revenues. Its leading brands include Sara Lee, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Hanes and Playtex.
Forward-looking statements: This news release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning Sara Lee’s operations, economic performance and financial condition. These forward-looking statements are based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data and management’s views and assumptions regarding future events. Such forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, and investors must recognize that actual results may differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Consequently, the corporation wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. We have provided additional information in our Form 10-K for fiscal year 1999 and Forms 10-Q for the first, second and third quarters of fiscal 2000, which readers are encouraged to review, concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.