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Earthgrains Buys Metz Baking, Creates the Second-Largest Fresh Bread Maker.

The Earthgrains Co., St. Louis, agreed to acquire Metz Baking Co. for $625 million, adding major markets and brands in the Upper Midwest. The acquisition will make Earthgrains the nation's second-largest fresh packaged bread and baked goods producer serving half the U.S. population. The largest packaged bread maker is Interstate Bakeries Corp, Kansas City, Mo.

Metz Baking Co., a subsidiary of Specialty Foods Corp., Deerfield, Ill., had sales of $550 million in fiscal 1999 and was ranked 14th in the industry, according to Bakery Production Milling Red Book. The largest independent bakery in the country, Metz operates 21 bread and specialty bakeries and serves all or parts of 18 states.

Earthgrains, which has 42 U.S. bread bakeries, had global sales of than $1.925 billion in fiscal 1999, and with the acquisition of Metz, Earthgrains new sales reach an approximate $2.475 billion and closing in on top seller Interstate, which had sales of $3.3 billion in fiscal 1999.

Metz-owned brands include Old Home and Master. The company also bakes products under leading franchised brands, including Holsum, Taystee, Pillsbury and Healthy Choice.

Earthgrains, a 1996 spinoff of Anheuser-Busch Cos., Inc., is the branded market-share leader in its area, serving all or parts of 26 states. The company offers a full line of bread, buns, rolls, bagels, and snack cakes across the popular, premium and superpremium categories. Leading company-owned brands include Colonial/Rainbo, IronKids and Grant's Farm, and franchise brands include Sunbeam, Country Hearth and Roman Meal.
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Comment:Earthgrains Buys Metz Baking, Creates the Second-Largest Fresh Bread Maker.
Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 22, 1999
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