CJ Cheiljedang, a leading South Korean processed food manufacturer, is seeking to make acquisitions in the US frozen category to expand its presence in overseas markets.

Media speculation has circulated the Seoul-based firm is targeting Schwan’s Co., the Minnesota-based owner of Red Baron Pizza and Mrs Smith’s pies, which is believed to be mulling a sale.

CheilJedang has responded to speculation by issuing a regulatory filing.

“As part of efforts to strengthen competitiveness in overseas food business, we are considering the acquisition of a US processed food company but nothing has been decided so far,” the company said in the filing.

Privately-owned Schwan’s makes products for the home-delivery, retail-grocery and foodservice channels. In December, it was said by industry sources to be eyeing a sale that could fetch as much as US$2.5bn.   

News channel CNBC said at the time Schwan’s had reportedly hired investment bank Piper Jaffray to review “options” that could include a sale. The sources, who asked not to be named, said the company could also opt to offload chunks of the business.

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CheilJedang makes soy sauces, oils and ingredients for the food industry and has brands under its wing such as Bibigo and Dasida.