Michael Foods Inc., the Minnesota-based company whose grocery brands include Crystal Farms and Simply Potatoes, said recently it has agreed to be acquired for about $1.05 billion by Thomas H. Lee Partners, a Boston private equity firm. Michael's Koehler Mix Specialties subsidiary is not part of the transaction and will be sold to Dean Foods in a previously announced deal.
The Lee firm's bid prevailed because of its financial attractiveness, the company's greater experience with food companies, and because of Lee's willingness to retain current management, Michael Foods said. About 1,200 of Michael Foods' 4,000 employees are in Minnesota. The deal calls for Michael Foods managers to hold about 4.5 percent of the company's shares and continue to run the business.
The company's current owners-New York-based Vestar Capital Partners, Minneapolis-based Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, and members of the founding family and management-took Michael Foods private for $800 million in 2001.