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Borden turns loose Meadow Gold, Elsie the Cow

Published: Saturday, May 24 1997 12:00 a.m. MDT

Elsie the Cow will be traveling, but she'll still call Borden home.

Borden Inc., long known for its dairy products, is getting out of that business as it concentrates on such other products as pastas and adhesives, including Elmer's glue.Borden has said it will sell the remainder of its dairy business, Borden/Meadow Gold Dairies, based in Ogden, Utah, to Mid-America Dairymen Inc. for $435 million.

Mid-America, based in Springfield, Mo., is a dairy marketing cooperative with more than 17,000 members in 30 states.

The sale includes a license to use the Borden and Elsie names and trademarks on certain products in the United States.

However, Borden still owns the Elsie trademark and retains the right to use it on other products, Borden spokesman Nick Iam-mar-ti-no said.

"Borden hasn't made any decision on the live Elsie as the corporate symbol," he said.

The Columbus-based company will use proceeds from the sale to pay down debt and invest in its other businesses, the company said. Borden/Meadow Gold recorded revenues of more than $900 million last year.

The division operates 27 processing plants in 11 states, predominantly west of the Mississippi River.

Mid-America will acquire the Meadow Gold, Viva, Lite Line and Mountain High brand names.

With the proposed sale, as well as its decision to divest its cheese business, Eagle Brand line and eggnog products, Borden would no longer make dairy products with the Elsie trademark.

Borden, which is owned by Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., had earlier sold or closed its dairy operations east of the Mississippi.

Borden still has pasta, pasta sauce, soup and bouillon products, as well as snacks such as potato chips and pretzels. It sells Elmer's glue, wallpaper and industrial chemical products such as resins and coatings. It also has management and business service-related units.

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