By Paulina Duran
SYDNEY (Reuters) – KKR & Co <KKR.N> said on Wednesday it had agreed to purchase the international business of food company Campbell Soup Co <CPB.N>, including its popular biscuits brand Tim-Tams.
The Australian Financial Review newspaper reported the U.S. private equity firm had agreed to pay $2.2 billion (£1.7 billion) for the business, citing anonymous sources. A Campbell spokeswoman in Australia declined to comment on the price.
“I can confirm that KKR’s offer for Arnott’s was accepted by Campbell’s late last night,” a KKR spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
The AFR newspaper said KKR had been told it had won an auction for the business overnight, beating Australian rival Pacific Equity Partners.
Representatives for PEP did not immediately return requests for comment.
The Campbell Soup spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports and said the U.S. company’s Australian unit, Arnott’s, had not yet been sold.
“The process to divest Arnott’s and the rest of our international operations is ongoing. We do not comment on rumour and speculation,” she told Reuters.
Campbell’s international unit, along with its “fresh” business, was put up for sale in August last year after the company was pressured by investors to improve profitability and stock performance.
Earlier this month, it sold its Danish unit Kelsen Group to an affiliate of Nutella maker Ferrero SpA for $300 million.
($1 = 1.4316 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Paulina Duran; Editing by Stephen Coates)