Mondelez International is getting out most of the grocery business in the land down under, saying goodbye to Vegemite and many other brands.
Mondelez, which despite its exotic name is based in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Ill., plans to sell most of its grocery business in Australia and New Zealand to Bega Cheese Limited for $460 million AUD (roughly $345 million).
Vegemite, the iconic spread made from yeast extract, is the best known product being sold. Mondelez is shedding other brands as well, but plans to hold onto Philadelphia cream cheese in the deal set to close later this year.
"We're extremely proud of our history as the custodian of the Vegemite brand for over 90 years, transforming it from its local roots into a global icon that's synonymous with Australia," Amanda Banfield, VP-Australia, New Zealand and Japan for Mondelez, said in a statement. "It's been a privilege stewarding this brand, which is found in almost every Australian household and is part of the fabric of the nation."
The sale includes three brands Mondelez owns -- Vegemite, Zoosh and Bonox -- and some products sold with the Kraft brand under license, including Kraft Mac & Cheese and processed cheese slices. Bega also gets a license to use the Dairylea brand in Australia and New Zealand.
More than 1.1 billion jars of Vegemite have been made since 1923. The spread is found in more than 9 out of 10 Australian homes, according to Bega's investor announcement on the deal issued Thursday morning in Australia.
Mondelez made its announcement Wednesday afternoon in the U.S., where its shares climbed in after-hours trading. Since Bega's announcement in Australia hit when it was already Thursday there, the news presents a chance for a #TBT look back on a Vegemite ad and a hit song featuring the hit spread from the 1980s.