Iconic Australian biscuit company Arnott’s has reportedly been sold to US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for US$2.2 billion.
The Australian Financial Review and The Australian have both reported that the biscuit company has been sold along with the remainder of Campbell International to the global investment firm after striking a deal with the food giant in the early hours of this morning.
The AFR reported that KKR won an auction for the business overnight, beating Australian rival Pacific Equity Partners.
However, a spokesperson for Campbell International was quick to quash the reports this morning when contacted by Inside FMCG.
“Arnott’s has not been sold. The process to divest Arnott’s and the rest of our international operations is ongoing. We do not comment on rumor and speculation,” the spokesperson said.
The American food giant, which bought Arnott’s in 1997, put its international business unit up for sale almost a year ago as part of a strategy to reduce debts and return focus to North America where it holds a strong market position.
But last week, Campbell’s struck a separate deal to sell its Danish snacks business, Kelsen Group, to a firm linked to Ferrero for $300 million.
Mark Clouse, Campbell’s president and CEO, said the sale of Kelsen separately from the rest of its international business generated the “greatest possible value for Campbell”.
Campbell’s international portfolio also includes Campbell’s soup sold in Australia.
Inside FMCG also contacted KKR but did not receive a response ahead of publication.
We will keep this story updated as more details emerge.