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Minneapolis-based Bellisio forks over $6.1M for Austin Packing Co.

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A Minneapolis-based food production company will be the new owner of Austin Packaging Co., pending court approval and sale closing next week. Bellisio says it plans to keep APC in Austin and expand its operations.

The Pioneer Press reports Bellisio Foods Inc., which manufactures Michelina's frozen dinners, along with products for Boston Market and private-label companies, bought the Austin company with a winning bid of $6.1 million on Wednesday and will assume about $280,000 of remaining liabilities, as well. It was one of two parties to bid on APC.

During the past two months, APC operated under the interim management of Tony Natale, of Shepherd Partners Inc. of Chicago, according to the Albert Lea Tribune. Former owners Jim Heimark and Jeff Thatcher filed for receivership, a step toward bankruptcy, on April 10, several weeks after shutting down APC’s frozen pizza department and laying off about 75 employees.

Bellisio bought a Los Angeles-based frozen food peer for about $81 million last month, according to an earlier report by the Star Tribune.

The private company bought the publicly traded Overhill Farms, maker frozen meals under the Jenny Craig brand for Nestlé, as well as frozen products for Panda Express, a restaurant chain, and Safeway, one of the nation’s largest supermarket operators. Minneapolis-based Target is also a customer.

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