Sara Lee Buys Top Coffee Company in Norway, Denmark

Sara Lee (NYSE:SLE) and its Norwegian joint venture partner Kaffehuset Friele said Wednesday that they are buying the House of Coffee, a leading coffee provider in Norway and Denmark, as part of Sara Lee’s effort to build up its international coffee business.

With the purchase, Sara Lee acquires popular brands such as Senseo coffee pods and Cafitesse liquid coffee in the Norwegian market.

Sara Lee, which owns about 45% of Kaffehuset, the leading coffee company in Norway, said the acquisition helps the two companies “strengthen their positions across various out-of-home channels in both countries.”

Financial details were not disclosed. The company said the deal is slated to close before the end of this year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

The Downers Grove, Ill.-based maker of packaged meats under the brands Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farm has been focusing on its international beverage business ahead of its planned separation.

“As we prepare for the launch of our successful pure-play coffee company, we continue to strengthen our positions in important markets that will be key to both our success and the success of our partners," said Jan Bennink, executive chairman of Sara Lee.

The company will spin off its North American retail and foodservice business, including its popular meat brands, into a separate publicly traded company starting early next year.

The other public entity will consist of Sara Lee’s international and domestic beverages and global bakery group.