Catching up on the news

Credit Suisse thinks Kraft Foods Inc. may sell its Planters business, perhaps to ConAgra Foods, reports the Wall Street Journal. As Kraft works through its roadmap to split the food giant in two parts, Kraft recently decided that Planters nuts would be a part of its North American grocery business -- the presumed slow-and-steady half of Kraft's business empire. The warehouse distribution network used for Planters is similar to that of the other center-store food brands going to the grocery business. Credit Suisse says selling Planters also would spare Kraft the trouble of moving Planters’ New Jersey headquarters … The Board of Directors of Kraft Foods Inc. announced the appointments of the Chairmen and CEOs of the future global snacks and North American grocery companies, the next step toward launching two public companies by the end of 2012. Irene B. Rosenfeld, currently Chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods, will be Chairman and CEO of the global snacks company, with $31 billion in estimated revenue. W. Anthony (Tony) Vernon, currently executive vice president and president, Kraft Foods North America, will become CEO of the $17 billion North American grocery company, and John T. Cahill, currently an industrial partner of private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC, will become non-executive chairman of the North American grocery company ... ConAgra Foods Inc. has agreed to acquire National Pretzel Co., which makes private label pretzels, including rods, sticks, braids and twists, as well as branded products under the HK Anderson and Shultz labels. The deal includes factories located in Lancaster and Hanover, Pa., and Visalia, Calif., and more than 700 National Pretzel employees are expected to join ConAgra Foods when the transaction closes. Terms were not disclosed … Andrew George Ross has been named vice-president and chief strategy officer, a newly created position, at ConAgra Foods Inc. … Sara Lee Corp. has completed the sale of its fresh bakery business in Spain and Portugal to Mexicos Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. for $155 million (at current exchange rates) in cash. The agreement includes all Sara Lee fresh bakery brands in Spain and Portugal as well as seven manufacturing facilities. Sara Lee retains the right to sell Sara Lee branded frozen desserts and meat products, including sliced deli meats. Grupo Bimbo will have the rights to the Sara Lee brand in the fresh baked goods category globally, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand. All of Sara Lee's approximately 13,000 North American Fresh Bakery employees will transfer to Grupo Bimbo. The sale also includes 41 plants in the U.S. and approximately 4,800 bakery routes ... Sara Lee Corp. also sold a majority of its North American foodservice coffee and tea operations to The J.M. Smucker Co. for $350 million. The two companies will also establish a long-term partnership to collaborate on liquid coffee innovation ... Enderson Guimaraes joins PepsiCo Inc. as president, global operations.  He succeeds Richard Goodman, who is retiring by the end of 2011 after 17 years with the company ... The Hain Celestial Group Inc. acquired Daniels Group, a U.K.-based marketer and manufacturer of natural chilled foods, for $230 million ... Glanbia plans to invest nearly $277.67 million in acquisitions next year in order to grow its nutritional product business, reports Food Business Review. Glanbia managing director John Moloney said the company is eyeing purchases in U.S. and Europe ... British-Dutch Unilever completed the sale of its Culver Specialty Brands division to B&G Foods for $325 million. Brands include Mrs Dash salt-free seasoning blends, Molly McButter flavored sprinkles, Sugar Twin sugar substitute, Baker's Joy baking spray and Static Guard branded anti-static spray in the U.S. and Canada … Fitch Ratings said on Nov. 14 that it expects Unilever to continue cutting its exposure to low-growth stable foods in developed markets by selling individual brands. “We believe Unilever will focus its disposal efforts on its savory, dressings and spreads business, where the potential for growth is weakest and where the company has little ability to add value through innovations in recipes or packaging, especially in the developed markets,” the ratings agency said. “One challenge for Unilever is that many of its remaining brands are global, making it harder to dispose of solely developed-market exposure. But we believe the company would be prone to dispose of global brands, albeit at the right price. A string of small divestments would maximize the value the group could obtain and would also be easier than finding a single buyer for a specific food category or brands globally in the current environment.” … Brynwood Partners newly-formed portfolio company, Sun Country Foods, acquired the Kretschmer wheat germ brand and manufacturing plant from The Quaker Oats Co. Sun Country Foods will have the rights to the Kretschmer brand in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, and will be headquartered in Boston, Mass. with its manufacturing plant in Manhattan, Kansas. The company plans to retain existing employees to support plant production ... Reser's Fine Foods acquired Chef Solutions for $69.2 million. Reser's, a family-owned brand that makes prepared side dishes and sells under its own name and private labels, also bought fresh cut vegetable company Vaughan Foods for $18.25 million in September ... CHS signed an agreement to acquire Solbar, an Israel-based company engaged in the production of specialty soy proteins and soy isoflavones, for $133 million, subject to approval of Solbar's shareholders and antitrust approvals in certain jurisdictions outside the U.S. … Highliner Foods, a Canadian frozen seafood company, has agreed to acquire the U.S. and Asian operations of Icelandic Group, one of the leading suppliers of seafood to the foodservice market in the U.S. ... Charlie Walton, the inventor of the wireless technology known as RFID, passed away at 89, reports VentureBeat. RFID is expected to generate $6 billion in worldwide revenue in 2011, according to ABI Research. The chips are used in access control, car immobilization, electronic toll collection, electronic document identification, dog tags, asset management, baggage handling, cargo tracking, contactless payments and ticketing, and supply chain management ... Jeno Paulucci passed away at 93. He founded Chun King, the canned Chinese food that became a mainstay in American cupboards in the postwar decades, the pizza roll, a hybrid of Italian and Chinese fast food and Michelina’s Inc.