Sara Lee Corporation announced today that it has completed the sale of PYA/Monarch, a leading foodservice operation, to U.S. Foodservice, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Ahold, for $1.57 billion in cash. Royal Ahold, the nearly $50 billion Dutch supermarket giant, is one of the largest foodservice operators in the United States.

The transaction also includes a multi-year supply agreement between Sara Lee’s U.S. food and beverage manufacturing operations and Ahold’s U.S. Foodservice.

”Sara Lee is pleased to continue the strategic reshaping of our business portfolio by completing this important divestiture,” said C. Steven McMillan, president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation. ”We plan to use the proceeds generated from the sale of PYA/Monarch and other divestitures to repurchase stock, retire debt and fund future acquisitions.”

In May, the company announced a strategic reshaping plan to narrow the company’s focus on three branded consumer packaged goods segments – Food and Beverage, Intimates and Underwear, and Household Products – in which Sara Lee enjoys leading category positions around the world. As part of that reshaping, Sara Lee also stated its plan to divest several businesses, including PYA/Monarch, which did not fit within the company’s renewed focus.

Sara Lee Corporation ( is a global branded consumer packaged goods company with approximately $17.5 billion in annual revenues. Its leading brands include Sara Lee, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Kiwi, Hanes and Playtex.