Sara Lee Sells Dough Business to Ralcorp

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. ( TheStreet) -- Sara Lee ( SLE) said Tuesday it agreed to sell its refrigerated dough business to Ralcorp Holdings ( RAH) for $545 million.

Sara Lee

Ralcorp said the acquisition would add 30 cents a share to its earnings in the first year after the sale is complete. It plans to fund the deal through short-term debt.

Ralcorp's purchase should help the private-brand food products maker improve its margins after it laid plans last month to spin off its Post Foods cereal unit. That announcement came on the heels of its twice rejecting unsolicited takeover bids from ConAgra Foods ( CAG).

Sara Lee announced its intention to divest its refrigerated dough business earlier this year. The unit makes up about 3% of its annual revenue.

The sale comes as part of the food maker's larger plan to spin off its North American retail and food service business, a company that will trade publicly and retain the Sara Lee name. That business includes brands such as Hillshire Farm lunch meat, Ball Park hot dogs and Jimmy Dean sausages. The other company, Sara Lee's remaining international bakery and beverages businesses, which includes Douwe Egberts and L'Or brands, was as yet unnamed but referred to as CoffeeCo and could be based overseas.

In May, Sara Lee said it was on track with the split, expected to be complete in 2012.

Sara Lee shares were 0.3% higher in premarket trading Tuesday, while Ralcorp shares were unchanged.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/miriamsmarket.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

READERS ALSO LIKE:







Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

More from Food & Drink

Week of the Women From Finance to Fast Food

Week of the Women From Finance to Fast Food

The Demise of the Great American Supermarket (Watch!)

The Demise of the Great American Supermarket (Watch!)

The Great American Supermarket No Longer Reigns Supreme

The Great American Supermarket No Longer Reigns Supreme

Kohl's May Blame Winter Weather for First-Quarter Earnings Slip

Kohl's May Blame Winter Weather for First-Quarter Earnings Slip

Watch McDonald's Workers Storm HQ to Protest Fast-Food Giant's Pay

Watch McDonald's Workers Storm HQ to Protest Fast-Food Giant's Pay