Hearthside To Buy Weston Foods' Ambient Business

Nov. 15, 2021
The deal includes six North American bakery facilities and concludes Weston's exit from manufacturing.

Contract manufacturer Hearthside Food Solutions, which was built by acquisitions, today (Nov. 15) announced the biggest acquisition in the firm's 12-year history: a C$370 million (US$295 million) agreement to acquire the assets of the Cookies, Crackers, Cones and Wafers Division of Weston Foods, what Weston called its ambient bakery business.

The deal includes six North American bakery facilities and 1,100 employees.

The sale concludes a Weston reorganization announced March 23, in which the Canadian grocer planned to sell its food processing operations, Weston Foods, at this point only a bakery segment, to focus on its retail and real estate businesses. On Oct. 26, Weston announced an agreement to sell its fresh and frozen bakery businesses to affiliated entities of FGF Brands Inc. for C$1.2 billion.

Sales of the division being bought by Hearthside were not disclosed, but we figured the entire Weston Foods business at US$1.6 billion in sales in 2020, according to our Top 100(c) list. Hearthside, by the way, was our 2019 Processor of the Year.

"The Weston acquisition is an ideal complement to our existing production network and business, bringing baking capacity, a roster of premier customers, expanded capabilities and enhanced geographic coverage," said Chuck Metzger, Hearthside CEO.

The six new facilities are in North Sioux City, S.D.; Front Royal, Va.; Green Bay, Wis.; Somerset, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; and Kitchener, Ontario. With these new locations, Hearthside will have 43 production facilities in 15 U.S. states, Canada and Europe and 13,000 employees.

Baking is one of Hearthside's four primary production categories, along with bars, fresh and frozen entrees, and food packaging. The parties anticipate the transaction to close before the end of the first quarter of 2022.

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