US food giant Campbell’s Soup has reportedly offloaded iconic Australian biscuit company Arnott’s as part of the $US2.2 billion ($A3.14 billion) sale of its international arm.
Campbell’s had flagged selling the Tim Tams, Mint Slice and Monte Carlo maker in August last year, 21 years after purchasing the brand.
Widespread media reports on Wednesday said that Campbell’s had struck a deal overnight with fellow US firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for the Campbell International division, which includes the biscuit manufacturer and all Campbell’s soup sold in Australia.
A Campbell Soup spokeswoman told AAP the process to divest Arnott’s was ongoing and the company had not been sold.
“We do not comment on rumour and speculation,” the spokeswoman said.
Arnott’s – based in Sydney – was founded in Newcastle in 1865 and employs 2,400 people across all states and territories, as well as several thousand people across the Asia Pacific region.
Its portfolio of brands includes household names like Shapes, Iced VoVo, SAO, Vita-Weat, Wagon Wheels, Salada and Tiny Teddy.
Arnott’s was bought by Campbell’s in 1997 in a deal that caused a stir among biscuit lovers Down Under.
The two entities reportedly in the running for Campbell International were Australian private equity group Pacific Equity Partners, and KKR.