Nestlé exploring potential sale of U.S. candy business

VEVEY, Switzerland —  Nestlé’s U.S. confectionery business could soon be in new hands. The company on Thursday announced that it was exploring strategic options for the division, including possible selling it, in efforts that it expects to complete by year’s end.

In 2016, the division had roughly $922.9 million (900 million Swiss francs) in sales for such brands as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, LaffyTaffy, FunDip, Smarties and SkinnyCow, among several others, as well as international growth brand Crunch. The strategic review that Nestlé is undertaking will not include its Toll House baking products, nor will it expand beyond the UUnitedStates, with the company continuing to focus on its global brands —a portfolio that includes KitKat and had roughly $9 billion (8.8 billion Swiss francs) in sales last year.

The U.S. market represents the largest one for Nestlé, but the confectionery business makes up some 3% of its U.S. sales. The company said it would continue to invest in its U.S., where it leads in the pet care, bottled water, frozen meals, infant food and ice cream categories.

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