Sara Lee to sell U.S. coffee unit to Italian company |

Sara Lee to sell U.S. coffee unit to Italian company

CHICAGO – Sara Lee Corp. Wednesday said it has agreed to sell its U.S. retail coffee unit, whose brands include Chock Full o’Nuts, to an Italian company for $82.5 million.The sale to Segafredo Zanetti Group is expected to close by the end of December.The coffee business had about $213 million in sales for the fiscal year that ended July 2. Its brands include Hills Bros, Chase & Sanborn and MJB brands and various private labels. The sale doesn’t include Sara Lee’s brand of coffee for Senseo machines.Sara Lee, which makes consumer products including frozen baked goods and Hanes underwear, said it will take an after-tax impairment charge of $39 million, or 5 cents a share, in the just-ended quarter due to the difference between the sale price and the carrying value of the coffee business on Sara Lee’s books.The Chicago-based company previously said it expected earnings of 22 cents to 27 cents in the quarter.Sara Lee will use proceeds from the sale to support its previously announced plans to increase shareholder value through its dividend, a $2 billion share buyback program, debt repayment and investment in its core businesses of food, beverage and household and body care.Shares of Sara Lee slipped 17 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $17.94 in afternoon trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.Vail, Colorado

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