A CNBC report claimed Hershey and Ferrara Candy were among the bidders.
Hershey did not comment on the matter. Nestlé said: “It is premature to speculate about specific outcomes of the ongoing strategic review.”
Nestlé’s US confectionery unit manufactures brands such as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Sno-Caps and Laffy Taffy, and it has annual revenues of $924m. The company explored the sale of the unit for as much as $2.5bn earlier this year due to its low market share in the US.
Sources told CNBC the bidding process is confidential, and companies “often make initial bids without submitting a final offer.” An executive at Leaf Brands also told ConfectioneryNews earlier the deal is likely to close towards the end of 2017 depending on how quickly Nestlé can get through the bidding process.
Recently appointed president and CEO, Michele Buck, said during Hershey’s Q2 2017 earnings conference that the company felt “particularly great” about its chocolate portfolio, and is expected to leverage its snack business through potential mergers and acquisitions.
During the past three-years, Hershey has purchased trendy, premium snacking brands, including barkTHINS, Krave jerky, and launched its own popcorn brand Popwell. It rejected a takeover approach from Mondelēz last year.