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BRIEFLY / FOOD

Nestle USA to Sell Coffee Brands to Sara Lee

December 07, 1999|Greg Johnson

Nestle USA Inc., which is reemphasizing its Nestle coffee brand, agreed to sell its Hills Bros., MJB and Chase & Sanborn brands to Sara Lee Corp., which last month acquired the Chock Full o'Nuts roast and coffee line. The companies did not release a sales price for the three coffee brands, which generate $280 million in annual revenue. "We determined that it is best to focus our efforts and resources toward the long-term growth of our new premium line of Nescafe . . . as well as Taster's Choice," said Joe Weller, chairman and chief executive of Glendale-based Nestle USA. Sara Lee said the coffee lines will be combined into the Chicago-based company's North American coffee and tea division, which also includes the Douwe Egberts Coffee Systems and Superior Coffee lines. Sara Lee also acquired Nestle's ground coffee plant in Suffolk, Va., with about 210 employees. Sara Lee shares fell 50 cents to close at $24.13 on the New York Stock Exchange.; Nestle American depositary receipts rose $1.13 to close at $91.38 in over-the-counter trading.

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