Friday, 5 Mar 2021

Nestle to sell N.American water brands for $4.3 billion, focus on premium lines

FILE PHOTO: A Nestle logo is pictured on a coffee factory in Orbe, Switzerland May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

(Reuters) – Nestle said on Wednesday it would sell Pure Life and some other struggling North American water brands to two private equity firms for $4.3 billion, as the food giant doubles down on its premium offerings including Perrier.

The sale, to One Rock Capital Partners and Metropoulos & Co, includes brands such as Poland Spring, Deer Park, Ozarka, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills, Arrowhead and Splash, as well as U.S. office beverage delivery service ReadyRefresh.

Perrier, S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, which contributed to the growth recovery of Nestle’s North American water business in the third quarter, are not part of the sale agreement, the company said.

“This sale enables us to create a more focused business around our international premium brands, local natural mineral waters and high-quality healthy hydration products,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider said in a statement.

Nestle, headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, said in June last year it was exploring a potential sale of part of its North American water business. Reuters exclusively reported its talks with One Rock Capital earlier this month.

New York-based One Rock said Dean Metropoulos, founder of Metropoulos & Co, would become Nestle Waters North America’s chairman and interim chief executive officer after the deal closes.

“As a private company, the business is expected to have greater resources and flexibility to drive continued growth, strengthen its existing operations,” One Rock partner Kimberly Reed said.

The Nestle Waters North America division has about 7,000 employees in the United States and more than 230 in Canada, according to One Rock.

One Rock manages about $3.2 billion of committed capital across three flagship funds, its website said.

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