Kraft Foods Inc. (Northfield, Ill.) is planning to sell a majority stake in its Back to Nature natural & organic foods brand to Brynwood Partners VI LP for an undisclosed amount. A joint venture will be formed between the two companies, with Kraft maintaining a substantial minority stake in the business, said to be between a quarter and a half, according to an article on Dow Jones Newswire. "This deal has a unique structure where a large consumer company like Kraft Foods has identified a way to partner with a specialist like Brynwood Partners to increase growth of a non-core asset while maintaining a significant financial interest," said Brynwood Senior Managing Partner Henk Hartong III. Brynwood has a track record of reviving smaller businesses divested by large corporations, including Kretschmer wheat germ (acquired from PepsiCo) and Balance Bar (acquired from Kraft). Back to Nature cereal and granola was founded in 1960 by Organic Milling Inc. (San Dimas, Calif.), which posted revenues of nearly $10 million for the brand in 2002. It was acquired by Kraft in 2003 for an undisclosed sum. Today, annual sales of Back to Nature, which also makes cookies, crackers and packaged meals, are between $50 million and $75 million, according to the Dow Jones article. The decision to sell Back to Nature precedes Kraft’s October split into two companies, one for snacks and the other for groceries.
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