SWITZERLAND – Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company has agreed to sell its U.S. confectionery business to Ferrero for US$2.8 billion in cash with acquisition expected to complete around the end of the first quarter of 2018 following the completion of customary approvals and closing conditions.

Ferrero, best known for making Nutella, Tic Tacs and Ferrero Rocher, would become the third-largest confectioner in the US after Hershey and Mars.

With a key interest to expand into the US market, the company has acquired Nestlé’s US-focused confectionery business that represents about 3% of U.S Nestlé Group sales.

“With Ferrero, we have found an exceptional home for our US confectionery business where it will thrive.

At the same time, this move allows Nestlé to invest and innovate across a range of categories where we see strong future growth and hold leadership positions, such as pet care, bottled water, coffee, frozen meals and infant nutrition,” said Mark Schneider Nestlé CEO.

The acquisition included Nestlé’s US manufacturing facilities in Bloomington, Franklin Park and Itasca, Illinois – as well as other locations in California, Illinois and New Jersey.

The deal also included the deal are brands like Crunch, BabyRuth, BottleCaps, 100Grand and Raisinets.

Nestle bought vitamin producer Atrium Innovations for US$2.3 billion and US coffee brand Chameleon Cold-brew as it strives to maintain its global status and market.

“We are very excited about the acquisition of Nestlé’s US confectionary business, which has an outstanding portfolio of iconic brands with rich histories and tremendous awareness.

In combination with Ferrero’s existing US presence, including the recently acquired Fannie May confections brands and the Ferrara Candy Company, we will have substantially greater scale; a broader offering of high-quality products to customers across the chocolate snack, sugar confectionery and seasonal categories; and exciting new growth opportunities in the world’s largest confectionery market,” said Giovanni Ferrero, executive chairman of the Ferrero Group.

The integration confirmed Ferrero’s continued commitment to investment and growth in all of their products and brands in the key strategic and attractive market of UK.

Arrival of Nestle as a powerful confectionery and chocolate brand will help deliver value to North American consumers and customers.

The confectionery business includes popular local chocolate brands such as Butterfinger, Crunch, BabyRuth, 100Grand, Raisinets, Chunky, OhHenry! and SnoCaps, as well as local sugar brands such as SweeTarts, LaffyTaffy, Nerds, FunDip, PixyStix, Gobstopper, BottleCaps, Spree and Runts.