Kellogg to Sell Keebler and Other Brands to Ferrero for $1.3 Billion

The company is getting out of the cookie business to focus on its power brands.

Kellogg announced it has reached an agreement to sell its Keebler, Famous Amos, and fruit snacks businesses to Ferrero Group for $1.3 billion.

In a statement, Kellogg said the businesses it is selling, including cookies manufactured for the Girl Scouts, produced net sales of nearly $900 million and operating profit of approximately $75 million in 2018.

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In November, it was reported that Kellogg was looking to sell the cookie and fruit snacks business as it focused on its core brands.

Ferrero, which also owns Nutella, reportedly beat out Hostess in the bidding, CNBC reported, citing people familiar with the deal.

“Divesting these great brands wasn’t an easy decision, but we are pleased that they are transitioning to an outstanding company with a portfolio in which they will receive the focus and resources to grow,” Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane said in a statement.

Kellogg will still control its Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its, Club Crackers, Rice Krispies Treats, and Pringles brands. Cahillane has called those Kellogg’s “power brands.”

The deal also includes Kellogg production facilities in Chicago, Augusta, Georgia; Florence, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky; and Allyn, Washington. Ferrero is also acquiring a leased manufacturing plant in Baltimore, Maryland.

“We are acquiring a portfolio of well-established brands that consumers love, with very strong market positions across their respective categories, allowing us to significantly diversify our portfolio and capitalize on exciting new growth opportunities in the world’s largest cookies market,” Ferrero Group CEO Lapo Civiletti said in a statement.

Evercore was lead financial advisor to Kellogg. Goldman Sachs was co-advisor. JPMorgan Securities was financial adviser to Ferrero.

Kellogg said the transaction was expected to be less than 5% dilutive to its shares.

Kellogg shares were down more than 1% in trading Monday morning.

In the last two years, Ferrero has bought Ferrara Candy for $1 billion and Nestle’s U.S. candy business for $2.8 billion.