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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sara Lee (SLE) to Split into Two Public Entities; Sees $3/Share Special Dividend, Offers FY11 Guidance

Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) announced that its Board has agreed in principle to divide the company into two separate, publicly traded companies. The separation is expected to be completed in early calendar year 2012.

Under the plan approved, Sara Lee’s North American Retail and North American Foodservice units (excluding the North American beverage business) will be spun off, tax-free, into a new public company that will retain the “Sara Lee” name. Its brands will include Sara Lee, Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, Chef Pierre and State Fair.

The yet to be named other company will consist of Sara Lee’s current International Beverage and Bakery businesses, as well as the North American beverage business. Its leading brands will include Douwe Egberts, Senseo, Pickwick, Maison du Café, L’OR, Café Pilão, Marcilla and Bimbo.

In conjunction with today's news, Sara Lee's Board has said it intends to declare a $3/share special dividend on common stock, the majority of which will be funded with proceeds from the sale of the company’s North American Fresh Bakery business. The special dividend is expected to be declared and paid in fiscal 2012 and before completion of the spin-off of Sara Lee’s North American Retail and North American Foodservice businesses.

Sees FY11 EPS from continuing operations of 82-86c, with sales of $11.9-$12.1 billion and cash flow from operations of about $400-$500 million.

Disclosure NONE and no plans in the future. 

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