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General Mills looks to sell Green Giant frozen vegetable business: Sources

General Mills' Green Giant brand frozen vegetables for sale at a supermarket in Princeton, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Mills is looking to sell its Green Giant frozen and canned vegetable business, people familiar with the matter said, as the maker of Bisquick and Betty Crocker cake mixes struggles with weak sales of products like cereal.

The Minneapolis-based company is working with investment bank Rothschild on the potential sale, which is expected to take place later this summer, the sources said. They requested anonymity because the matter is private.

General Mills and Rothschild declined to comment.

Green Giant, whose mascot is the Jolly Green Giant, makes more than 160 different products, including steamed and canned vegetables, corn on the cob, chips and hummus.

The business generates revenue of around $700 million, the people said.

General Mills is shedding 700 to 800 jobs, improving supply chain efficiency and shaving advertising costs to save more than $400 million in fiscal 2015.

The company said in January that it was closing down plants in Midland, Ontario, and New Albany, Indiana as part of this effort.

General Mills has suffered from sluggish sales of many of its products as consumers shift toward items perceived as healthy. The trend has hurt General Mills' cereal brands like Cheerios and Chex as well as its frozen foods business.

U.S. sales of frozen meals have fallen about 3 percent in the last five years, according to research firm Euromonitor International.

Large consumer companies in turn are starting to sell underperforming brands and are looking to add healthier offerings to their portfolios through acquisitions.

General Mills last September acquired organic macaroni and cheese maker Annie's Inc for $820 million.

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