George Weston Limited has announced that it has signed a ‘definitive agreement’ to sell the Weston Foods ambient bakery business to Hearthside Food Solutions, LLC. for C$370 million ($296 million).

Hearthside will acquire the assets of the Cookies, Crackers, Cones and Wafers Division of Weston Foods, which includes six North American bakery facilities, including one in Canada. 

This acquisition expands the Hearthside network to 43 production facilities in the US, Canada and Europe, bringing 1,100 full-time employees, additional production capacity, and an expanded base of premier food company customers.

Baking is one of Hearthside’s four primary production categories, along with bars, fresh and frozen entrees, and food packaging. The Weston acquisition adds new capacity and an expanded ability to meet the needs of Hearthside’s customers.

George Weston announced back in March that it decided to sell its bakery segment and will now be focusing on its Retail and Real Estate businesses. 

On October 26, George Weston announced that it had entered into an agreement to sell its fresh and frozen bakery businesses to affiliated entities of FGF Brands Inc. for a total cash consideration of $1.2 billion. 

Together with the sale of the fresh and frozen business, the sale of the ambient business represents George Weston’s entire bakery business.

The company states that it is committed to ensuring that a smooth transition plan is in place as Weston Foods continues to support its customers and workforce.

Galen G. Weston, Chairman and CEO of George Weston, commented: “With the agreement to sell the ambient segment to Hearthside and our previously announced sale of the fresh and frozen businesses, we have two high-quality buyers that are well-positioned to carry on the proud legacy of the Weston Foods business.

“With the sale of the entire bakery business, George Weston will be focused on its market-leading Retail and Real Estate businesses going forward.”

The sale of the Weston Foods ambient business is subject to compliance with the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and other closing conditions customary in transactions of this nature. 

Subject to the receipt of all regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary transaction closing conditions, George Weston expects to close the transaction before the end of the first quarter of 2022.

Houlihan Lokey and CIBC Capital Markets are serving as financial advisors to George Weston and Mayer Brown LLP and Torys LLP are acting as legal advisors.

Ropes & Gray LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP are acting as legal advisors to Hearthside.

Chuck Metzger, Hearthside CEO, added:  “The Weston Foods acquisition is an ideal complement to our existing production network and business, bringing baking capacity, a roster of premier customers, expanded capabilities, and enhanced geographic coverage. 

“These synergies benefit our current and new customers alike. We look forward to welcoming Weston Foods’ 1,100 employees into the Hearthside family.”