OMAHA, Neb. – ConAgra Foods Inc. has purchased the Marie Callender’s brand trademarks from Marie Callender Pie Shops Inc., for $57.5 million. Marie Callender Pie Shops Inc. operates the Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery chain in California and the southwestern US.

The purchase fits into ConAgra Foods' acquisition strategy, which seeks to add depth and strength to its existing product lines in key strategic pillars, such as convenient meals, snacks and meal enhancers.

“ConAgra Foods has experienced great success as a long-term licensee of the Marie Callender’s trademark more than tripling the brand’s annual retail sales in the past ten years,” said André Hawaux, Consumer Foods president, ConAgra Foods. “Owning the trademark not only allows for greater control of the brand, but gives us the added flexibility to further grow the Marie Callender’s brand.”

The company's current Marie Callender's frozen foods business includes pot pies, desserts and a wide array of single and multi-serve frozen dinners and entrées, of which sales have grown to approximately $800 million annually.

Marie Callender’s is now ConAgra Foods’ No. 2 retail brand, after Banquet, selling 284 million frozen meals and desserts each year.

In 1994, ConAgra Foods originally acquired a license to sell Marie Callender’s frozen meals and pot pies. In 2010, the company acquired the license for frozen dessert pies held by American Pie LLC. This latest acquisition represents the purchase of the brand trademarks from the restaurant operating company with ConAgra Foods taking ownership of the Marie Callender’s trademarks.

Concurrent with the purchase, ConAgra Foods will no longer pay licensing fees to Marie Callender Pie Shops Inc. and has granted the restaurant chain a license for the continued use of the Marie Callender’s brand name for its restaurant and bakery operations.