Schwan’s Is Selling a Billion-Dollar Stake to South Korea’s Largest Food Manufacturer

November 15, 2018, 10:35 PM UTC

Schwan’s Co, the Minnesota-based food distributor, is selling a $1.8 billion stake to South Korean’s largest food manufacturer, according to the Associated Press.

CJ CheilJedang is spending over a billion dollars on an 80% stake in Schwan’s, known for its iconic yellow-gold home delivery trucks. The Seoul-based CJCJ will operate Schwan’s grocery and restaurant fulfillment operations and plans to leverage Schwan’s distribution system to bring more Korean food products into U.S. restaurants and supermarkets.

The deal is expected to close next year, with Schwan’s chief executive Dimitrios Smyrnios remaining in charge, and Schwan’s offices in the Minnesota cities of Bloomington and Marshall continuing to operate as before.

“We are not expecting any change,” Paul Schwan, Schwan’s board member and son of Schwan’s founder Martin Schwan, told the AP.

Schwan’s is an interesting company that, due to diversification of its products and a commitment to its signature home delivery program, has stayed solvent and even competitive in the era of meal delivery kits. Founded in 1952, the company has about $3 billion in sales annually and employs around 12,000 people. Schwan’s makes, among other recognizable ready-made and frozen food brands, Red Baron frozen pizza and Mrs. Smith’s pies.

In 2015, the company announced that within two years, it would remove artificial and unhealthy ingredients, including high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, from its frozen foods.