Mondelez International reportedly expects to start the sale of its European grocery business, including the Philadelphia cream cheese brand, next month.
According to The Sunday Times, the company’s representatives have contacted potential bidders for the unit to indicate the time scale. JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are said to be overseeing the sale process.
Rumours that the unit would be on the block first surfaced last year. The European grocery division was spun off into a predominantly stand-alone unit in 2014. The company stated that the aim of the reorganisation was to improve “flexibility” and “focus”.
A spokesperson for Mondelez told just-food the company does not comment on “market rumours” as a “matter of practice”. However, the spokesperson added: “What I can confirm on our cheese and grocery activity is that we see it as a good business, with solid margins and cash flow, which helps to provide scale in some markets. The team is executing well, having posted solid growth for 2015.”
Kraft Heinz owns the Philadelphia brand in the US and, under the terms of the spin off of the old Kraft Foods Inc from Mondelez, the US group has the option to buy back the rights of the cream cheese brand in Europe.
Reports have also been circulating that Mondelez has appointed advisors over the potential sale of its European candy brands. The company has purportedly appointed Lazard to look into the disposal of confectionery brands in France, Spain and the Netherlands.