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General Mills to sell Pop Secret to Diamond Foods

BY Jenna Duncan

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. General Mills today announced details of an agreement to sell its Pop Secret microwave popcorn business to Stockton, Calif.-based Diamond Foods for around $190 million. None of General Mills’ employees or plants will be affected by the sale because Pop Secret is manufactured at an outside facility, a company spokesperson said.

According to spokesperson Heidi Geller, the sale is part of a move by General Mills to reevaluate its priorities. Additionally, General Mills is also looking to sell its Nature Valley granola bar line and other grain-based snacks.

Diamond Foods, the creator of Diamond brand almonds and other snack nuts has said that it is very excited to add Pop Secret to its portfolio. The added brand will broaden Diamond’s presence in the snack aisle and the company expects to generate $85 million to $90 million per year from the sale of Pop Secret products.

General Mills is looking at a one-time $160 million profit gain, not including costs related to the costs.

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Dr Pepper Snapple reports profit down for 2Q

BY Jenna Duncan

PLANO, Texas Dr Pepper Snapple Group has announced that its profit dropped 21 percent in the second quarter of 2008. Speculators say that the drop was most likely the result of the new company’s break from former parent Cadbury Schweppes.

According to the company, net income dropped from $136 million, or 54 cents per share, in the second quarter 2007 to $108 million, or 42 cents per share for the quarter ended June 30.

Not including the costs of restructuring and separation and other transactions, earnings were reported at 60 cents per share, the company said. In comparison the second quarter of 2007, revenue did rise 1 percent to $1.56 billion from $1.54 billion, after predictions that it would reach $1.58 billion. And, while higher prices may have steadied the loss from a drop-off in sales, coupled with a “challenging macroeconomic environment,” the higher prices were also the cause for the for the drop in volume, the company said.

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Anheuser-Busch offers enhanced perks for workers to retire early

BY Jenna Duncan

ST. LOUIS Anheuser-Busch this week said that in order to cut administrative costs it is offering salaried workers an early retirement package. This announcement came after A-B filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The improvements to the A-B retirement plan include better pension and medical benefits, and severance monies payable to those employees who will be age 55 years old or older by the year’s end. About 8,600 employees will be eligible for the program, more than 1,000 of whom are age 55 and older, the company said. A-B said that around 10 percent to 15 percent of those eligible are expected to accept the plans and retire.

The company also reported that of those eligible for the new retirement offer, 360 are “ket employees” for whom the retirement offerings will include between 15 months of base pay to twice their salaries, as well as other benefits. Vice president and chief financial officer W. Randolph Baker was named among these key players and would $2.7 million, if he agrees to the package.

A-B last month waved the green flag for a takeover bid by Belgian brewer InBev to acquire the company for $52 billion. The retirement and severance costs and related expenditures of $100 million to $140 million should provide A-B with a one-time pretax charges between $400 million and $525 million in the third and fourth quarters of 2008, sources had said.

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