January 3/Austin, Minn./Press Release -- Unilever announced plans to sell its Skippy peanut butter business to Hormel Foods Corp. for $700 million in cash.

The transaction includes Unilever's Skippy manufacturing plants in Little Rock, Ark., and Weifang, China, though in an e-mail, a company spokesman said "a limited number of nonmanufacturing employees in each of the functions across the business solely dedicated to the Skippy business … will be informed on an individual basis" if the sale will impact their jobs in New Jersey.

Unilever North America president Kees Kruythoff said "as we continue to sharpen our portfolio to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, we believe that the potential of the Skippy brand can now be more fully realized with Hormel Foods."

Hormel anticipates the product will result in annual sales of approximately $370 million, including nearly $100 million in international sales, mostly from China, where it is currently a leading peanut butter brand. In a statement, Hormel CEO Jeffrey M. Ettinger said he expects Skippy's dominance in China to be "a useful complement to our sales strategy" to bring the company's existing deli meat products into that market.

Ettinger added the acquisition "allows us to grow our branded presence in the center of the store with a nonmeat protein product."