Ferrero, the Italian confectionery business, has been linked with a takeover bid for the international business of the US food giant Campbell Soup Co.
Nutella, Kinder and Tic Tac maker Ferrero is said to be interested in Campbell’s overseas assets, which include biscuit brand Arnott’s, according to news agency Reuters, citing “two sources close to the matter”.
They said the Italian group is working on a possible deal with Rothschild as its adviser, confirming an earlier report by Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore, which said a deal could be worth more than US$2bn.
Following a strategic review, instigated after its CEO Denise Morrison stepped down from her role in May following the reporting of a huge third-quarter loss, Campbell said in August it would sell off its international and chilled food units.
Campbell’s international biscuits and snacks operating segment also include Kelsen Group, along with the company’s manufacturing operations in Indonesia, Malaysia and its businesses in Hong Kong and Japan.
Ferrero has made a number of large-scale acquisitions in the US in the past year 14 months. In October 2017 it acquired the Ferrera Candy Company and in January this year emerged as the winner in the race to buy Nestle’s US’ candy arm. It paid $2.91bn to acquire brands such as Butterfinger and Raisenets.
When contacted by Reuters, Ferrero declined to comment on rumours linking it to Campbell’s international unit while a Campbell spokesman said the company does not comment on rumours and speculation.