Bain to buy 27% stake in CJ Foods America

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Bain to buy 27% stake in CJ Foods America

CJ CheilJedang announced Thursday that U.S. private equity fund Bain Capital has agreed to acquire a 27 percent stake in its U.S. affiliate CJ Foods America for $320 million.

CJ Foods America is the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary responsible for sales and marketing in the region.

The food giant said that the funding from Bain could be used to increase the competitiveness of its overseas business and lessen the financial burden incurred from the purchase of U.S. frozen food manufacturer Schwan’s Company.

“The cooperation with Bain Capital will not only bolster competitiveness in the global food market, but is also expected to relieve the financial burden,” CJ CheilJedang said in a statement.

The food maker acquired Schwan’s Company, a major manufacturer of frozen food in the United States, for $1.84 billion last year. The deal made CJ the dominant shareholder with a 99.98 percent stake in the American company, marking the largest acquisition deal in CJ Group’s history.

Still, CJ CheilJedang has seen a steep rise in debts.

Its outstanding debt stood at 5.7 trillion won ($4.7 billion) back in 2016, but ballooned to 9.3 trillion won as of the first quarter this year.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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