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Sara Lee to split in two

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Sara Lee Corp. (SLE-N) said Friday it plans to split up into two separate companies focusing on North American meats and international coffee and tea.

The company said Friday that the separation would include a $3-per-share US special dividend and should be completed early in 2012.

Sara Lee's North American retail and foodservice business would be spun off, tax-free, into a new public company that would retain the Sara Lee name. It would sell Sara Lee desserts, Jimmy Dean sausages, BallPark hot dogs and Hillshire Farm lunch meats, operations that had about $4.1 billion in 2010 revenue.

The yet-to-be-named other company would include Sara Lee's international beverage and bakery businesses, as well as the North American beverage business. Its brands would include Douwe Egberts, Senseo and Pickwick.

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