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Schwan’s Co. sold to South Korean food company for $1.8 billion

The Columbian
Published: November 18, 2018, 5:22am

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Schwan’s Co., a food distributor with deep roots in Minnesota known for its gold home-delivery trucks, has been sold to South Korea’s largest food manufacturer.

Seoul-based CJ CheilJedang will pay $1.8 billion for an 80 percent stake in Schwan’s and gain control of its businesses that serve restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers, the companies said in a statement Thursday. The deal is expected to close next year.

The Schwan family will retain 20 percent ownership in the businesses being sold to CJCJ. The family will keep 100 percent ownership of Schwan’s Home Service Inc., the home-delivery business that Marvin Schwan began in Marshall in 1952.

The companies said Schwan’s will keep its name and its Minnesota offices in Bloomington and in Marshall. Schwan’s CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios will continue to lead the company.

Paul Schwan, a Schwan’s board member and son of Marvin Schwan, said it was important to find a partner who would honor the family’s legacy.

“We are not expecting any change,” Schwan said.

Smyrnios said other Schwan’s executives also will stay.

“Obviously there’s a certain amount of nervousness with a sale,” Smyrnios told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We are going to operate business as usual in Marshall, business as usual in Bloomington, business as usual in Minnesota.”

Schwan’s has about $3 billion in annual sales and employs about 12,000. The company offers frozen and ready-made products.

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