Sara Lee sells Champion Europe to management

ABN Amro Ventures and Rola Banca 1473 are backing the buy-out.

ABN Amro Ventures and Italian bank Rola Banca 1473 are backing a management buy-out of Champion Europe from US corporation Sara Lee. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Champion Europe distributes branded and licensed clothes, team uniforms, footwear and accessories. The $210m business is based in Campogalliano (Modena) and Florence, Italy.

In May 2000, Sara Lee Corporation announced a major reshaping of its business portfolio, which would include both acquisitions and divestitures. The sale is part of this restructuring of its business portfolio. “While Champion Europe is a very vital and successful business, it (Champion Europe) involves a significant fashion component that no longer fits with Sara Lee's vision to focus on repeat-purchase, non-fashion, branded consumer packaged goods,” said C. Steven McMillan, president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation.

Sara Lee Corporation is a branded consumer packaged goods company with approximately $17.5bn in annual revenues. Its leading brands include Sara Lee, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Kiwi, Hanes and Playtex.