Vegemite and other grocery products are being sold by Oreo-maker Mondelez to Australian dairy company Bega Cheese in a deal worth about $345.3 million (460 Australian dollars).
Mondelez International Inc. said Wednesday it's selling most of its grocery business in Australia and New Zealand to focus on snacks like Oreo cookies and chocolate like Cadbury.
Vegemite was introduced in the 1920s, and the salty, slightly bitter spread made from yeast extract has become a staple in Australia households. Although it remains by far the country's most popular yeast-based spread, its market share has slipped in recent years, according to Euromonitor International. Last year, Vegemite's market share was 79.9 per cent, down from 89.6 per cent in 2011.
Amanda Banfield, vice-president of Mondelez's Australian unit, said in a statement that Vegemite is "part of the fabric'' of Australia.
Also included in the sale are other local Australian grocery products, and products that use the Kraft brand under licensing. Mondelez had licensing rights for those products overseas after its split with Kraft Foods in 2012. Mondelez says it is holding onto Philadelphia cream cheese in Australia.
Michael Mitchell, a Mondelez spokesman, said about 200 employees will be offered roles "on comparable terms'' with Bega Cheese. He said a manufacturing plant will transfer to Bega, but that there will be no closures.