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    Tyson Expands Prepared Food Offering With Pizza Deal

    SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Tyson Food Inc. acquired the assets of Bosco's Pizza Co. as part of the locally based company's strategy to expand its prepared food business. Terms of the acquisition, which was completed Jan. 18, were not disclosed.

    Bosco's Pizza, famous for "The Original Bosco Stick," produces a variety of stuffed bread sticks and frozen pizzas for foodservice and retail customers throughout the Midwest, as well as some retailers nationwide. Bosco Pizza is based in Warren, Mich.

    "This is part of our company's strategic plan to grow our domestic prepared foods business," said Donnie King, Tyson Foods' president of prepared foods, customer and consumer solutions. "Bosco's will be a good addition to our diversified portfolio of quality food offerings."

    Craig Mulhinch, vice president of Bosco's sales and marketing, and Paul Morgan, vice president of Bosco's operations, will continue to manage the company's day-to-day operations. The company employs about 150 people, all of whom are expected to become Tyson Foods team members. Bosco's will also become part of Tyson Foods' Prepared Foods division, but continue to operate under the Bosco's Pizza Co. name.

    "This is a great opportunity for the Bosco's brand," Mulhinch said. "We've put a lot of effort into creating high-quality products and Tyson Foods has recognized that. This deal will allow us to accelerate our growth while we continue to focus on the fundamentals of making excellent artisan bread products. We're excited about joining the Tyson team."

    Entrepreneur Mark Artinian created Bosco's as a carry-out pizzeria in 1988 before he started delivering frozen pizzas to area high schools. In 1995, the company started producing frozen stuffed crust pizza, which soon led to stuffed bread sticks, the company's main product line today. Artinian will remain with the business in an advisory role.

    "The Bosco's team built the business the right way," said Michael Turley, vice president of foodservice and government sales for Tyson Foods. "Those who know the Bosco's brand are more than customers -- they're fans...the brand has a large regional following including those who remember eating Bosco Sticks at school."

    Tyson Foods is the largest supplier of pepperoni and pizza toppings to the foodservice industry. Tyson Foods markets prepared food products to retail grocers, foodservice distributors, restaurant operators and on-site foodservice establishments such as schools, universities, corporate cafeterias, hotel chains, health care facilities and the military.

    In addition to "The Original Bosco Stick," the Bosco's Pizza plant produces partially baked frozen pizza made with traditional and whole-grain crust, reduced-fat cheese Bosco Sticks, pepperoni Bosco Sticks and whole-grain apple-filled Bosco Sticks in a variety of sizes and pack options.

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