The following is an excerpt from Martinne Geller, Francesca Landini | January 16, 2018 | reuters.com |
LONDON/MILAN (Reuters) - Swiss food group Nestle (NESN.S) has agreed to sell its U.S. confectionery business to Italy’s Ferrero for $2.8 billion, it said on Tuesday, marking CEO Mark Schneider’s first big sale and a small step on its path toward healthier products.
Nestle, the world’s biggest packaged-food company, has cited its weak position in the United States, where it trails Hershey (HSY.N), Mars Inc and Lindt, as the rationale for a sale. But reduced exposure to chocolate also fits Nestle’s goal of becoming a “nutrition, health and wellness” company.
Though Nestle is hanging on to non-U.S. confectionery operations, bankers and analysts have said it might wind down its interest further.
Nestle’s U.S. business, home to mass-market products BabyRuth, Butterfinger and Crunch, has been underperforming rivals for years as consumers have turned increasingly toward healthier snacks such as fruit bars and premium chocolate brands such as Lindt (LISN.S).
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