December 10, 2018 / 1:07 PM / 5 months ago

Nutella maker Ferrero in race to buy Campbell's international business: sources

Tins of Campbell's Tomato Soup are seen on a supermarket shelf in Seattle, Washington, U.S. February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

MILAN (Reuters) - Ferrero SpA is interested in buying Campbell Soup Co’s (CPB.N) international business, which includes biscuit brand Arnott’s, two sources close to the matter said on Monday.

The Italian group based in the Piedmont region is working on a possible deal with Rothschild as advisers, one of the sources said, confirming an earlier report by Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore. According to the newspaper, the deal could be worth more than $2 billion.

Campbell started the process of selling its international and fresh refrigerated-foods units in August following a strategic review, joining the likes of other packaged food makers such as Kraft Heinz Co (KHC.O) and Kellogg Co (K.N) who have also been offloading some brands.

Campbell recently settled a months-long proxy battle with billionaire Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point LLC, which had pressured the company to sell itself.

The company said last month, the units which were put up for sale have attracted strong interest from potential buyers.

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, which also makes Kinder brand chocolates and Tic Tac, declined to comment, while a Campbell spokesman said the company does not comment on rumors and speculation.

Reporting by Francesca Landini in Milan and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Shounak Dasgupta

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