NORTHFIELD, IL -- Kraft Foods Inc. said it has agreed to sell a majority stake in its Back to Nature all-natural food line to private-equity firm Brynwood Partners, ahead of its split into two companies later this year.
Kraft bought the Back to Nature Brand in 2003 for an undisclosed sum. It will keep a minority stake of between 25% and 50% in the maker of crackers, cookies, granola and trail mixes. Financial terms of the deal, expected to close in October, were not disclosed.
The Back to Nature transaction marks Brynwood Partners' third transaction with Kraft Foods. In 2006, the private-equity firm purchased Kraft's Stella D'oro cookie brand, followed by its 2009 acquisition of Kraft's Balance Bar brand.
Back to Nature's annual sales are between $50 million and $75 million. Cookies, crackers and trail mix sales have reportedly increased 20% a year over the past three years.
Kraft's stake in the new venture will eventually become part of Mondelez International Inc., the global snacks company that will divide from its North American grocery business, Kraft Foods Group, on Oct. 1.
Kraft Foods Group will continue to sell Back to Nature's macaroni-and-cheese product under a licensing deal.
Brynwood Partners holds stakes in several consumer packaged goods companies, including DeMet's Candy Co., maker of Turtles, Flipz and Treasures candy brands. It also owns Pearson Candy Co., which markets its namesake salted nut rolls and mint patties.