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Sara Lee spinoff D.E Master Blenders’ first day a down day

Updated: August 11, 2012 6:20AM



The separation of the former Sara Lee Corp. became final Monday when its European spinoff began life as a freestanding company.

D.E Master Blenders 1753 opened formal trading on the Amsterdam exchange. Shares of the coffee and tea producer, known for the Douwe Egberts brand, lost 0.21 euros to close Monday at 9.59 euros, or about $11.80.

The other part of the old Sara Lee is its meats business, now named Hillshire Brands Co. Shares of Hillshire have traded on the U.S. market since June 28 and closed Monday at $28.77, down 79 cents.

Hillshire includes Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. The company is based in Downers Grove but plans to move to a renovated building at 400 S. Jefferson in Chicago during 2013.

D.E Master Blenders had traded since June 12 in an unofficial “gray” market that establishes value for new stocks overseas. It opened at 8 euros and rose to 9.8 euros on news that a large investor bought a stake.

But some analysts think the stock’s price will come under pressure now that it has hit mainstream trading.

Because it’s a spinoff, its shareholders overwhelmingly are owners of the old Sara Lee. Some are fund managers with a mandate to hold mostly U.S.-based companies and they can be expected to sell.

However, the company has said in road shows that D.E Master Blenders, the world’s third-largest coffee company, should be attractive to British and Dutch investors who are familiar with its brands.



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