The Federal Trade Commission, the US antitrust authority, has cleared the acquisition of Chef America, the fifth largest producer of frozen food in the USA, by Nestlé. The deal is expected to close immediately.

The transaction, amounting to US$2.6bn, was announced on 6 August, 2002. Once completed, it will give Nestlé clear leadership in two of the three main frozen food categories in the USA, the world's largest market for these products, the company said in a press statement.

Chef America is best known for its frozen hand-held food products that are sold under the Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets and Croissant Pockets brands. The company is expected to generate sales of US$720m in 2002.

Based in Denver, Colorado, Chef America employs about 1700 people and operates two factories situated in Chatsworth (California) and in Mount-Sterling (Kentucky).