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Published on .

(July 2, 2001) -- Package-goods conglomerate Sara Lee Corp. announced today it will buy Earthgrains Co., the No. 2 U.S. baked goods company, for about $2.8 billion in cash and assumed debt in a deal that gives Sara Lee access to a new direct-store delivery system that could be used to move its other brands.

The Earthgrains purchase adds bread to Sara Lee's stable of frozen bakery, meat, hosiery and household products. In a meeting with analysts today, Sara Lee President-CEO Steven McMillan said the direct-store delivery system could have "tremendous" implication for broader distribution of other Sara Lee brands. -- Jack Neff

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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