Nestle to sell United States candy business to Nutella maker Ferrero

Ferrero and Nestle confectionery

Ferrero and Nestle confectionery

Nestle is selling almost $3 billion worth of its USA candy brands, including Butterfinger, BabyRuth and Nerds, to Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, according to the companies.

Ferrero, known for its Tic Tac, Nutella and Ferrero Rocher brands but which has traditionally preferred organic growth to acquisitions, will now be picking up Crunch, Butterfinger and Baby Ruth from Nestle.

But the good news for the Derry Twp. -based company, others say, is that it will permit the company to continue to focus its own capital on diversifying its snack lines at a time when less-sugary treats are gaining favor with consumers.

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Encompassing over 20 brands like Butterfinger, Nerds, and LaffyTaffy, Nestle's confectionery business in the USA generated about $900 million in sales in 2016.

Even though its candy sales reached about $900 million in the U.S.in 2016, confections make up a small part of Nestle's USA sales, which totaled almost $28 billion the same year, according to the company.

Nestle's U.S. confectionery business represents about three percent of U.S. Nestlé Group sales.

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Ferrero will acquire Nestle's USA manufacturing facilities in IL. The company said it will remain committed to its global confectionery brands like KitKat.

The sale to Ferrero, which does not include the Toll House brand of baking products, is expected to close around the end of the first quarter, Nestle said.

Nestle CEO Mark Schneider said: "With Ferrero we have found an exceptional home for our USA confectionery business where it will thrive".

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Closely held Ferrero has been pushing harder into the U.S. a year ago it snapped up Ferrara Candy Co., the maker of Red Hots and Lemonhead sweets, as well as confectioner Fannie May. The business represents about 3 percent of the Swiss company's US sales.

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