Sara Lee Selling 51% Joint-Venture Stake to Godrej

Sara Lee Corp. agreed to sell its 51 percent stake in the Godrej Sara Lee Ltd. Indian joint venture to Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. for 185 million euros ($233.7 million).

The deal is expected to close by July 3, Downers Grove, Illinois-based Sara Lee said today in a statement. The joint venture primarily markets insecticides, including the leading Good Knight, HIT and JET brands sold throughout India, according to the statement.

Godrej Consumer, India’s second-biggest soap maker, told Sara Lee last year that it would exercise its right to buy its partner’s stake should the company sell its global businesses, such as household insecticides.

Godrej, based in Mumbai, is seeking to acquire businesses in Asia, Latin America and Africa to widen its portfolio of hair color and personal hygiene products as well as household insecticides, Managing Director Dalip Sehgal said at the time.

Sara Lee has been unloading units to focus on coffee and food. The company agreed to sell its body-care business to Unilever NV and its air-care business to Procter & Gamble Co. for a combined 1.59 billion euros. The company said both transactions will close this year.

Sara Lee rose 2 cents to $14.35 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has climbed 18 percent this year.

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