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Popular Pasta Sauce Brand, Ragú Sold to a Japanese Firm

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Unilever announced that it would sell its pasta-sauces business – Ragú and Bertolli brands to the Japanese firm Mizkan Group, for $2.15-billion.

The Ragú pasta sauce brand was established in New York in 1937, and one year later Unilever bought the sauce product. Ragú is considered the top selling pasta sauce in the United States.  

According to Unilever, the Ragú and Bertolli pasta sauce segment has annual sales of more than $600 million. The acquisition includes a sauce-processing plant in Owensboro, Kentucky, and a tomato-processing facility in Stockton, California.

Within the last 18 months Unilever has sold off several big brands including its Wish-Bone salad dressing ($580- million), Skippy peanut butter ($700-million) and its European meat business for an undisclosed amount.

In 2011, the Japan-based firm, Mizkan, bought a U.S. processor of jalapeño peppers and in 2005 bought Holland House, which sells cooking wines and vinegars. Mizkan’s chairman and chief executive Kazuhide Nakano calls the move an “important milestone in our global expansion strategy.”

The deal is expected to close sometime in June.

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