South Korea’s CJ CheilJedang buys U.S. frozen foods firm Schwan for US$1.84b

USA – South Korean food ingredients and pharmaceuticals company CJ Cheil Jedang has bought Minnesota based privately owned food company Schwan Co. for $1.84 billion.

CJ CheilJedang has acquired 80% of Schwan’s, representing CJ Group’s biggest ever acquisition.

With the deal, the group will be able to access Schwan’s distribution network, including logistics centers and delivery vehicles, as it looks to expand its existing U.S. business focused on Korean food such as dumplings and noodles.

The firms said Schwan’s would keep its name, its corporate office in Bloomington and its main operations in Marshall, both in Minnesota.

Schwan’s sells frozen foods from home delivery trucks, in grocery store freezers, by mail, and to the food service industry.

The company produces, markets, and distributes products developed under brands such as Schwan’s, Red Baron, Freschetta, Tony’s, Mrs. Smith’s, Edwards, Pagoda and Larry’s.

It has an annual revenue of US$3 billion and the second-largest U.S. frozen-pizza market share.

Based in Seoul, CJ CheilJedang manufactures food ingredients, food, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology with brands including Beksul, Bibigo, CJ Hat Kimchi, DASIDA and Haechandle.

It was founded as ‘Cheil Jedang’ in August 1953 as a sugar and flour manufacturer and was originally part of Samsung Group.

The acquisition expands on the group’s footprint into the United States where it acquired the Ohio-based home meal replacement (HMR) company, Kahiki Foods.

The company had also announced that it acquired Germany’s Mainfrost, with the acquisitions aiming at expanding its presence in the American and European markets.

Schwan’s deal is an addition to the company’s four food product manufacturing lines in the U.S., including Kahiki Foods.

The latest acquisitions come at a time when CJ CheilJedang is aggressively seeking to expand its overseas production bases in the U.S., China, Russia and Vietnam to up exports to Southeast Asia, South America and Europe.

The company recently announced it would actively seek to take over additional foreign companies to become one of the world’s leading global food companies.

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