Nestlé looks to sell U.S. candy business as Americans eat fewer sweets

Nestlé SA said it is considering selling its U.S. confectionery business, maker of such products as the Butterfinger and Baby Ruth candy bars, as packaged-food giants struggle to boost growth and accommodate changing consumer tastes.

The Swiss-based consumer giant said its U.S. confections business generated about 900 million Swiss francs ($922 million) in sales last year, or 3% of its total U.S. sales. Nestlé said the strategic review now under way doesn't include the company's Toll House baking products.

It wasn't immediately clear what price Nestlé would be seeking or who might be a buyer. Nestlé, the world's No. 3 confectioner by market share, competes with market leader Mars Inc. and second-ranked Mondelez International Inc. around the world.

Italy's Ferrero SpA, the privately held maker of Nutella and Tic Tac, and the global industry's fourth-largest player, has expanded aggressively recently through deals. It pushed into the U.S. by snapping up Chicago-based Fannie May Confections Brands earlier this year.

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