SIO acquires Sara Lee desserts and baked foods business in Australia

AUSTRALIA — New Zealand-based investor group South Island Office (SIO) has reached an agreement to acquire the Sara Lee desserts and baked foods business in Australia from McCain Foods (Aust) Pty. Ltd. 

Once completed, the transaction will combine Sara Lee with Christchurch-based baking company Original Foods Baking Co., which SIO acquired in February. 

McCain acquired the Sara Lee business from Hillshire Brands Co. in 2013 for approximately $85 million. as a way  to expand its range of products across desserts, meals and snacking occasions.  

As part of its strategy to grow the Sara Lee business, McCain named Mark Mackaness as a dedicated general manager in 2019 to build standalone business capability, operating independently from McCain and allowing for a relatively seamless transition of the business. 

The company went on to invest more than A$40 million in Sara Lee’s product innovation and infrastructure with the aim of creating “a successful, well-run business that is prepared for growth and future.” 

As part of its strategy to grow the Sara Lee business, McCain named Mark Mackaness as a dedicated general manager in 2019. 

Mackaness was given the task of building a standalone business capability, operating independently from McCain and allowing for a relatively seamless transition of the business.  

Following SIO’s acquisition of Sara Lee, Mr. Mackaness will become an equity partner and group chief executive officer while Sara Lee’s leadership team will be staying with the business for continuity with teams, customers and suppliers, SIO said. 

“Sara Lee is almost entirely complementary to Original Foods Baking Co.,” Mr. Mackaness said. “Original Foods Baking Co. is already branching out to Australia and beyond with its range of brownies, slices, bites and more.” 

“Uniting two great baking businesses that will work together to grow into Australia and New Zealand’s premier frozen baked goods supplier is genuinely exciting,” he added. 

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Mr. Mackaness confirmed that the new owners will be investing back behind the Sara Lee brand “to continue to give Aussie and Kiwi consumers the great classics they love, with a lot of new products to come as well.” 

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