Nestlé, the Swiss-based confectionery and food giant, is understood to have acquired US baby products business Gerber from pharmaceutical giant Novartis for $5.5bn £2.76bn). The deal will make Nestlé the leading baby products manufacturer in the US.
Gerber makes a range of baby foods, bottles and feeding equipment and personal care products such as shampoos. The deal will be completed later this year.
The sale is part of a Novartis’s strategy to divest businesses that do not fit in its core healthcare and pharmaceuticals business. Nestlé acquired its medical nutrition business for $2.5bn (£1.25bn) last December.
The acqusition has been described as “bad news for mother and infants” by Baby Milk Action, which lobbies against Nestlé and its marketing strategy of promoting formulas in developing countries.