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Hormel Foods Buys Country Crock Line

Food company says it's buying the Country Crock side dish line that includes 10 varieties of refrigerated, microwavable side dishes from Unilever United States.

AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) -- Hormel Foods Corp. is acquiring the Shedd's Country Crock side-dish line from Unilever United States Inc., a move that adds potato and pasta side dishes to Hormel's product line that includes meat and poultry entrees.

Terms were not disclosed Monday for the deal, which is expected to close by next month.

The products in the Country Crock side-dish line include mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. The business generated about $50 million in revenue last year for Unilever, based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

The acquisition complements Hormel's existing products and will help it grow its "convenient meals" segment, said Jeffrey Ettinger, the president and chief executive of the Austin, Minn.-based company.

Michael B. Polk, the president of Unilever Americas, said the deal was part of ongoing efforts to reshape his company's North America product line.

Shares for both companies were up moderately on Tuesday. Shares of Hormel Foods rose 30 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $38.86, while shares of Unilever added 53 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $32.67.

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