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Best Brands Completes Multifoods Acquisition

EAGEN, MN - The owners of Best Brands Corp., the local manufacturer and distributor of bakery products, announced yesterday that have closed on their acquisition of Multifoods Foodservice Bakery Products division from J.M. Smucker Co. and plan to unite the two operations.

A consortium of shareholders, including Value Creation Partners Inc. in Ohio, acquired the Multifoods division for $43 million, according to the company. That business, based in Minnetonka, consists of manufacturing, marketing and distribution of baking mixes and frozen baked goods to restaurants, retail and wholesale bakers and other commercial customers in the United States and Canada.

The acquisition will bring together Best Brands and Multifoods Foodservice, according to investment bankers who orchestrated the deal. The Multifoods purchase enables Best Brands to add muffins and other specialty products to its portfolio. Also, Multifoods' strength serving food-service clients compliments Best Brands' focus on in-store bakeries.

Patty Duffey, who was a foodservice specialist with Multifoods and recently promoted to vice president of foodservice sales, told ID Access that the acquisition of Multifoods will have no impact on its foodservice business. Duffey said both lines are complementary and they offer "great opportunities" for the foodservice market.

"We are looking to provide even more great products," she said, noting her intention to create a one-stop shop for distributorships.

With the Multifoods team remaining intact, Duffey said distributorships can expect to deal with the same sales reps and managers.

Meanwhile, Value Creation Partners announced that it had already closed a Multifoods' manufacturing plant in the Lockport, NY, eliminating nearly 50 jobs, earlier this month. The Lockport operation was included in the sale of Multifoods division. The transaction had not yet closed at the time of the plant closure.

Multifoods Foodservice division reported sales of $202.5 million in its most recent fiscal year, ended Feb. 28. The division employs about 700 people in the U.S. and Canada.

Value Creation Partners was founded by Douglas Smith, Harry Sunenshine and G. Scott Humphrey. Smith is former president and ceo of Columbus-based Borden Foods Corp. Humphrey was Borden Foods' vice president of technology.

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