Nestlé Sells U.S. Confectionery Business To Ferrero For $2.8 Billion

Posted On: 1/17/2018

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VEVEY, Switzerland -- Nestlé has agreed to sell its U.S. confectionery business to Italian chocolate and candy maker Ferrero for $2.8 billion in cash.

The acquisition will make Ferrero -- which makes Nutella, Tic Tacs and Ferrero Rocher chocolates -- the third-largest chocolate confectionery in the world. The transaction is expected to close by March.

Nestlé's American confections include Nestle Crunch, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Raisinets, SweeTarts and Laffy Taffy. The deal does not include Nestlé's KitKat and  Toll House brands.

With sales of $27.7 billion in 2016 – from brands including Purina, Nestlé Pure Life, Coffee-Mate and Stouffer's -- the U.S. is Vevey-Switzerland-based Nestlé's largest market. Its 2016 U.S. confectionery sales reached about $935 million.

"With Ferrero we have found an exceptional home for our U.S. confectionery business where it will thrive," said Nestlé chief executive Mark Schneider. "At the same time, this move allows Nestlé to invest and innovate across a range of categories where we see strong future growth and hold leadership positions, such as pet care, bottled water, coffee, frozen meals and infant nutrition."

Ferrero announced plans in October to buy Ferrara Candy Co. -- maker of Brach's, Trolli and Lemonheads -- from private-equity firm L Catterton for an undisclosed amount.

In September, Nestlé acquired a majority interest in Oakland, CA-based specialty coffee roaster and retailer Blue Bottle Coffee for an undisclosed amount. Last month, it said it plans to buy Atrium Innovations, a Canadian nutritional health products manufacturer, for $2.3 billion.