Lion Capital is preparing to sell upmarket chip maker Kettle Foods for around US$700m, according to reports.

Citing a source "familiar with the matter", Reuters said that the private equity fund has hired investment bank Rothschild to handle the transaction.

The Wall Street Journal reported that PepsiCo's Frito-Lay and Snyder's of Hanover were among the potential bidders for the up-market chip maker.  

When contacted by just-food, Lion declined to comment on the reports.

Kettle employs about 730 people and generated sales of $235m in 2008.