FTI Consulting fields significant interest in sale of Sara Lee

31 October 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read

Desert-lovers devastated by the reported demise of frozen goods producer Sara Lee could be in for a reprieve, with administrators FTI Consulting drawing a high level of interest from potential buyers.

Beloved Australian deserts manufacturer Sara Lee will have no shortage of potential bidders after entering into voluntary administration last month, according to the latest reports.

Established locally in 1971, the company employs around 200 workers in New South Wales, with annual sales in excess of $120 million. FTI Consulting, appointed administrator, is also currently busy seeking interested suitors for Melbourne-based handbag designer Ola Berg.

FTI Consulting fields significant interest in sale of Sara Lee

Famed for its frozen cheesecakes and fruit pies, Sara Lee ran into trouble due to rising across-the-board costs, which have resulted in reduced sales following an attempt to pass on the price increases to a consumer market already struggling with a cost-of-living crisis. Regional brand rights are currently in the hands of Kiwi private equity firm South Island Office, which were picked up from global food giant McCain for a reported $95 million in 2021.

“There’s no surprise that the cost of doing business has gone up from raw materials, energy, and logistics, and that’s all just the inflationary pressure,” stated FTI Consulting senior managing director Vaughan Strawbridge, who is overseeing the sales process alongside colleagues Kathryn Evans and Joseph Hansell. Strawbridge added that transport industry collapses and last year’s flooding in Lismore had also caused a dent in Sara Lee’s bottom line.

Yet, according to reports, as many as 50 local and international parties have already shown interest in the company, including BGH Capital, the owner of cybersecurity consultancy CyberCX. “Sara Lee is an iconic brand which produces quality Australian-made products,” Strawbridge stated. “We have had a huge amount of interest. We are working with Sara Lee’s management team and staff to continue operations while we secure business’ future.”

FTI Consulting has had a busy twelve months in the spotlight, with inflationary pressures continuing to squeeze Australian businesses of all stripes. A sample of the firm’s diverse recent mix of clients and engagements includes other iconic local brands such as Seafolly and weight-loss company Jenny Craig, along with the successful administrations of Tribe Breweries, the Sun Cable renewable energy project, and independent WA chain Grand Cinemas.

Adding to that mix is Melbourne fashion house Olga Berg, with FTI senior managing director Ben Shrimpton brought in in the hunt for a strategic buyer. The handbag designer was founded in 1987 and is targeting annual revenues of above $10 million by 2026. Again the firm has had a high level of inquiries, with Shrimpton describing the retailer as “high potential, scalable, and profitable despite being founded with relatively limited capital.”