NEW YORK (
) - In end of the week deals, companies consider selling everything from mac & cheese to English pubs as a way to draw in funds.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Friday said it will sell its stake in a British pub chain to
of the Netherlands for $646 million. Meanwhile,
the maker of ever-popular gourmet quick meal fare like organic Mac & Cheese, filed an initial public offering to raise $100 million in funds late on Thursday.
RBS, which is seeking to raise funds to help repay billions in bailout funds received from the British government in 2008, will sell a chain of 918 pubs, called the Galaxy Pub Estate, ending its more than decade long foray into the beer selling business. In December, the still 83% government owned lender also is in talks to sell a trade finance business called
to Japanese bank
, according to
With the purchase, Heineken will pick up pubs with varying degrees of class. Some of previously RBS owned pubs like the Madonna and Guy Ritchie run
located in the tony Mayfair section of London, have highbrow celebrity affiliations. Others may not have such an esteemed locale or management.
The deal, which is the eight largest divestiture by Royal Bank of Scotland since August 2008, will help it continue to cut non-core businesses to repay bailout funds.
In 2010, RBS sold its stake in the London's five-star Grosvenor House Hotel to an Indian conglomerate called Sahara India Pariwar, while it's also shed billions in U.K. bank branches to
( STD) and an online payments platform to private equity firms.
Overall, RBS has cut its non-core assets by more than 60% to $165 billion, from $405 billion in 2009. Increasingly, banks like RBS may look to sell assets to bolster capital as the European debt crisis potentially worsens, or to return bailout funds.
Late Thursday, Annie's, the maker of popular easy-to-make organic macaroni & cheese meals filed for a $100 million initial public offering, in what surely will be the biggest mac & cheese share sale of the year.
The company, co-founded in 1989 by its namesake Annie Withey is known for its healthier take on the popular quick meal dish loved by children and college students looking for a late-night eat. Annie's is also known for an environmental bent, epitomized by its mascot Bernie, who seals products with "Rabbit of Approval" on taste and sustainability.
Investors buying shares in the IPO, which hasn't been given a price range or offering date, will be reminded of the company's mascot Bernie with its ticker BNNY that will be listed on the
New York Stock Exchange
With the offering of shares, Annie's is looking to add to its success in growing products and improving profitability. The company now sells canned meals, pastas, salad dressings, granola bars and even organic BBQ condiments, in addition to its mac & cheese brands.
About its growth, Annie's writes on its Web site, "faster than bunnies can multiply, Annie's Macaroni & Cheese became a word-of-mouth phenomenon. Annie's brand has now grown to include a whole pantry-full of items, but the same love, attention to detail and commitment to quality goes into every product."
Currently Annie's sells 25 products in over 25,000 food stores in the United States and Canada. According to its IPO filing, the company is a market leader in its organic macaroni and cheese, snack crackers, fruit snacks and graham crackers product lines
As investors look at the share sale, Annie's numbers betray a so-far successful effort at improving earnings. Since 2007, the company has nearly doubled net sales to $117.6 million, growing at a 15.7% compound annual rate. Meanwhile, its earnings over that period have turned from losses in 2007 to a $15.1 million profit in 2011, according to its S-1 filing with
The Securities and Exchange Commission
In 2011, while the company's sales grew 22%, while its profits nearly tripled. Nevertheless, in the second half of 2011 profits slowed, according to company filings.
Annie's is backed by New York -based private equity
, who has invested $235 million in organic foods, specialty retail, healthcare and green lifestyle businesses, among others. According to
reports, Solera owns 90% of Annie's and is a likely seller in the company's IPO.
will lead the offering. No details were immediately raised on share sale price targets, or the valuation of Annie's.
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-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York