Delayed by a federal antitrust lawsuit, French-based Lactalis completed its $3.3 billion acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s natural cheese business Monday and launched a Chicago office to run it.
The acquisition puts iconic cheese brands including Cracker Barrel, Breakstone, Knudsen and the entire line of Kraft brand natural and grated cheeses under the corporate umbrella of the newly formed Lactalis Heritage Dairy, which is staffed by 100 former Kraft Heinz employees at its West Loop headquarters.
“With this acquisition, we are advancing our growth strategy across North America and strengthening our position in the attractive U.S. cheese market,” Lactalis North America CEO Gilles Meziere said in a news release Monday.
The acquisition includes 750 former Kraft Heinz employees and three production facilities located in California, New York and Wausau, Wisconsin. As part of an agreement with the Justice Department, Lactalis is divesting of Kraft Heinz’s Athenos and Polly-O businesses.
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