The deal will see Glanbia Cheese EU and Glanbia Cheese sold to US-based Leprino for a consideration of €114m (£100.22m) and repayment of €64.9m (£57m) of shareholder loans. A further €25m (£21.9m) is dependant on the performance of Glanbia cheese of the next three years.
Leprino Foods president and chief executive Mike Durkin said: “With its distinction of being the leading mozzarella manufacturer in Europe, we are proud of the business that we helped build over the past two decades.
Expanding international presence
“With this acquisition now completed, we are extremely excited about the potential to take advantage of our combined expertise, knowledge and strengths to further enhance and expand our international presence by providing access to key markets across the globe.”
The full ownership stake is effective immediately and, following a transition period post-completion, the Glanbia Cheese business will be renamed Leprino Foods UK Limited and Leprino Foods EU Limited.
Glanbia Cheese’s current leadership team, led by chief executive Paul Vernon, will continue to run the day-to-day business.
"Glanbia Cheese is a strong, well invested business with an excellent team and deep customer and supplier relationships,” said Vernon. “We are excited by this proposed transaction which will see us align our business into Leprino Foods, the largest and most successful mozzarella business in the world. Glanbia Cheese will be a strong fit within Leprino Foods, with its strategic focus on our category.
“We look forward to working with Leprino Foods to build on our success as a trusted supplier and business partner to our customers in the pizza category across the UK and Europe.”
Leprino Foods and Glanbia began the Glanbia Cheese joint venture in 2000 and the business has become a ‘market-leading’ European mozzarella business with more than 500 employees.
Glanbia Cheese operates two manufacturing facilities in the UK – Llangefni in Wales and Magheralin in Northern Ireland – as well as a corporate office in Northwich, England. A third manufacturing facility is located in Portlaoise, Ireland.
Meanwhile, Smithfield Murray has been acquired by private equity firm Endless as part of plans to create a £115m turnover pre-prepared meats group.