Family-owned US confectioner Russell Stover is reported to have hired investment banker Greenhill & Co to seek potential buyers for the company.

No deal is imminent although initial bids were collected last week, Reuters reported, citing sources.

If a sale goes ahead, the Kansas City, Missouri-based company, which is the largest US maker of boxed chocolates, is expected to fetch around US$500m, which is about equal to its annual sales.