TORONTO — In what analysts believe may be prelude to taking Loblaw Cos. private, George Weston Ltd. here on Wednesday said it has agreed to sell its U.S. bakery divisions to Grupo Bimbo for $2.5 billion.
Weston is the largest U.S. baker with brands including Arnold, Brownberry, Entenmann's, Freihofer, Stroehmann and Thomas. Weston said the deal is set to close in the first quarter of 2009. George Weston has a controlling interest in Loblaw.
Analysts have said they anticipate the group would use proceeds of this sale — along with that it gained recently in selling in Canadian dairy operations — in order to purchase the 38% of Loblaw Cos. it does not already own. Weston in a statement Wednesday said it would use the cash “wisely and at the appropriate time.”
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