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Hillshire expands non-meat offerings with Van's

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NEW YORK (AP) — Hillshire Brands said Monday that it reached a deal to buy Van's Natural Foods from private equity firm Catterton Partners for $165 million, marking the company's expansion into non-meat foods.

The Chicago-based company said Van's — which makes gluten-free foods including cereal, chips and snack bars — is expected to have net revenue of about $60 million this year. The deal is expected to close in May, pending regulatory approvals. Hillshire said the management for Van's will continue to lead the business.

Hillshire CEO Sean Connolly said in a statement the acquisition helps the company boost its presence in the frozen and "health and wellness" categories.

The deal comes as Hillshire looks to diversify its portfolio of products, which are primarily focused on meat products, such as its namesake lunchmeats, Ball Park hot dogs and Jimmy Dean sausages. The company also makes Sara Lee frozen bakery products.

Hillshire was created in 2012 after Sara Lee split in two; the other company was D.E. Master Blenders 1753, a reference to one of the company's coffee brands. That company is based in the Netherlands.

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