- Associated Press - Friday, March 2, 2012

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Food company Sara Lee Corp. said Friday that its shareholders will get stock valued at up to $4.55 billion when it spins off its international coffee and tea business later this year.

The coffee and tea business, which includes brands such as Senseo and Pickwick Teas, will also move its headquarters from Utrecht to Amsterdam in the second half of the year in part to be close to key Western European markets.

“With over 250 years of history, the Coffee & Tea business has solid market positions and deep roots in many European markets,” Sara Lee Executive Chairman Jan Bennink said in a statement.

The assets of the coffee and tea business will be held by DE International Holdings, which plans to apply to list its stock on the NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam. DE also plans to change its corporate name before the spinoff is complete.

Sara Lee previously announced its plans to split into two businesses: the international coffee and tea company and a meats company. Both will be public companies. The spinoff of the coffee and tea business is expected to be completed by the end of June.

Once the spinoff is complete, Sara Lee stockholders will get a $3 special dividend.

Sara Lee, which is based in Downers Grove, Ill., will focus on the meat business with brands such as Ball Park hot dogs and Jimmy Dean sausage. It will have about $1.7 billion in debt and approximately $300 million in cash.

Sara Lee shares climbed 86 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $21.25 in morning trading after hitting a 52-week high of $21.40 in earlier trading. Sara Lee shares have risen 35 percent from their 52-week low of $15.66 in early October.

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