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CURTICE BURNS ANNOUNCES DEFINITIVE AGREEMENT TO SELL NATIONAL OATS

 ROCHESTER, N.Y., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Curtice Burns Foods (AMEX: CBI), a food processor, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell the oat milling portion of its National Oats division, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to the Ralston Purina Company (NYSE: RAL). The companies will now move toward closing the sale. Pro-Fac Cooperative, which holds title to certain of the fixed assets used in this business, has consented to the sale and agreed to transfer title to the assets to Ralston Purina in accordance with the agreement. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 In commenting upon the sale, Curtice Burns President and CEO J. William Petty said, "This transaction is the first step in implementation of the restructuring program announced on Aug. 18, in which Curtice Burns expects to promptly exit certain unprofitable businesses or non-strategic businesses to enhance shareholder value. Oat milling is a non-strategic business for Curtice Burns, while for Ralston Purina, it is a major strategic thrust. We admire and respect the Ralston Purina Company and are pleased to be involved with them in this 'win-win' transaction."
 The sale is subject to various customary conditions, including the expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. Under the agreement, Curtice Burns would retain the popcorn business of National Oats, which owns labels such as 3-Minute Brand, Super-Pop, Pops-Rite and Popeye.
 The popcorn business will be integrated into Curtice Burns' Comstock Michigan Fruit Division (CMF), which will assume responsibility for all sales, marketing, distribution and customer service effective on Nov. 1, 1993. CMF will also take responsibility for the Ridgway, Ill., and North Bend, Neb., facilities and plans on retaining all employees in those locations. National Oats currently employs 431 people, 310 in Cedar Rapids, 98 in Ridgway and 23 in North Bend.
 Curtice Burns was represented in this sale by John Loeb of J.H. Chapman Group, Chicago. "Curtice Burns has a long-standing relationship with the Chapman Group," said Petty, "and this transaction -- as so many others before this one -- is a tribute to their professionalism."
 Curtice Burns processes and markets 24 product lines of regional branded, private label and foodservice products through nine autonomously managed divisions and 44 plants and warehouses located throughout the United States and Western Canada.
 -0- 10/13/93 R
 /CONTACT: Bea Slizewski of Curtice Burns, 716-383-1850/
 (CBI RAL)


CO: Curtice Burns Foods; Ralston Purina Company ST: New York, Iowa IN: FOD SU:

AR -- CL020 -- 2084 10/14/93 09:45 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 14, 1993
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