French food company Danone has said that it is in exclusive talks with Italian chocolate firm Ferrero over the sale of its Michel et Augustin brand, whose cookies, cheese and charcuterie adorn the shelves of French supermarkets.
"Michel et Augustin is a much-loved brand, but it falls outside of our investment priorities, in the frame of our Renew Danone strategy," commented Danone's group deputy chief executive Juergen Esser.
"This is the best way to create long term value while giving Michel et Augustin the opportunity to thrive under the leadership of a Ferrero-related company."
About Michel et Augustin
The Michel et Augustin brand was launched in 2004 by entrepreneurs Augustin Paluel-Marmont and Michel de Rovira, and was purchased by Danone in 2016, under the latter's Danone Manifesto Ventures arm.
Its range of food products are sold in France as well as six other markets.
According to a statement, the proposed transaction is set to be submitted to the relevant employee representative bodies for consultation and is expected to close in the coming months, subject to customary closing conditions.
'The planned acquisition would strengthen the Ferrero ecosystem in France and mark the group's latest purchase in the premium biscuits market, following the acquisitions of Burton's Biscuit Company and Fox's in the UK, Kelsen Group in Denmark and Delacre in Belgium', according to a statement by CTH Invest, a Ferrero-related, Belgian holding company.
In October, Danone reported a 6.2% increase in third-quarter like-for-like sales, reaching €6.906 billion, surpassing analysts' expectations.
All of Danone's business segments posted growth in the period, with the company adding that the ongoing transformation of the Essential Dairy and Plant-based products business in Europe has begun to yield positive results.
Additional reporting by ESM