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Sale eyed for Turkey Hill food business

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Six months after selling off Turkey Hill convenience stores, parent company The Kroger Co. may be looking to do the same with Turkey Hill ice cream and other products.

Cincinnati-based Kroger said yesterday it is exploring "strategic alternatives" for its Turkey Hill business, including a potential sale. The business is based in Manor Township and employs about 800 people who make and distribute ice cream, iced teas, fruit drinks, milk and frozen dairy treats.

"Turkey Hill's successful and recognizable ice cream and beverage products have the potential for greater growth outside of our company. We want to ensure Turkey Hill has every opportunity to meet its full potential," Erin Sharp, group vice president for Kroger Manufacturing, said in a statement.

No deadline was set for a decision.

The move comes amid a brisk pace for mergers and acquisitions in the food business. Recent deals include The Hershey Co.'s acquisition late last year of Amplify Snack Brands Inc., the Texas-based maker of SkinnyPop popcorn, and Campbell Soup's purchase of Snyder's-Lance.

Kroger has hired Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC to review and evaluate options for the Turkey Hill products business. Goldman also advised Kroger on the sale of its convenience stores, a deal that closed in February.

Kroger sold its Turkey Hill and other branded convenience stores to EG Group, a convenience-store operator based in England. The price was $2.15 billion for the chain, which did an estimated $4 billion in annual revenue.

Kroger operates grocery stores under multiple brands, including Kroger, Dillons and Harris Teeter. It had sales of $37.5 billion for the three months ending May 26, its fiscal first quarter, up from $36.3 billion in the three months ending May 20, 2017.

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