Sara Lee to sell foodservice coffee/tea to J.M. Smucker

ORRVILLE, Ohio ― Sara Lee Corp is selling most of its North American foodservice coffee and tea business to J.M. Smucker Co for $350 million.

Sara Lee would also get about a total of $50 million in licensing fees from Smucker over a 10-year period as part of an agreement to develop new liquid coffee techniques for the foodservice market, which is made up of restaurants and institutions, the company said on Monday.

Sara Lee is in the process of splitting into two companies, one focused on North American meat brands and one focused on international coffee and tea brands.

The deal is expected to close in early 2012. After that, about 450 workers would move to Smucker, whose brands include Folgers coffee.

Executive Chairman Jan Bennink said in a statement that Sara Lee’s North American coffee business has been aimed at the foodservice market and for the most part unbranded, making it hard to compete.