Sara Lee’s Coffee Spinoff to be in Netherlands

Mar 15, 2012

Its name will be D.E. Master Blenders 1753 and its headquarters will be in Amsterdam when Sara Lee Corp. spins off its international coffee and tea business in about three months.

The Downers Grove, Ill.-based parent firm on March 14 revealed the name for the future company, which will be listed on the Dutch stock exchange. D.E. stands for Douwe Egberts, its leading (but European-only) coffee brand, and 1753 was the year that predecessor company came into existence.

"D.E. Master Blenders 1753 expresses what we have become as an organization, as well as what we aspire to be – the best blenders in the world – transcending the boundaries of traditional companies and bringing innovations that enhance and improve the way the world enjoys coffee and tea," said Michiel Herkemij, executive vice president and chief executive officer, Sara Lee International Beverage.

The name was selected after a six-month research and analysis process involving thousands of candidate names. A short-list group of about 50 names, all of which met the positioning and personality criteria for the firm, was evaluated globally for trademark and URL availability, possible cultural sensitivities and local market pronunciation.

In an earlier bulletin announcing the company’s Dutch location and stock listing, Sara Lee officials said they expect the spinoff to occur in June.

"With over 250 years of history, the coffee and tea business has solid market positions and deep roots in many European markets,” said Sara Lee Executive Chairman Jan Bennink. “Domiciling Coffee & Tea in the Netherlands allows management to be close to its key Western European markets and effectively manage its global portfolio."

To execute the separation and domiciliation, Sara Lee will spin off all of the shares of its U.S. subsidiary that holds its Coffee & Tea business. The U.S. subsidiary will pay a $3 special dividend to Sara Lee shareholders. Subsequently, a new Dutch company will be established as the parent company for the Coffee & Tea business and its shares will be distributed to Sara Lee shareholders. The U.S. Coffee & Tea company will become a subsidiary of the Dutch public parent and a holding company for the Coffee and Tea operations.

While tentatively and nominally headquartered in Utrecht, D.E. Master Blenders 1753 will move to Amsterdam in the second half of 2012.

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