by Christopher Freeburn | October 4, 2012 10:58 am
Unilever (NYSE:UL) is searching for a suitor for its Skippy peanut butter brand.
Selling Skippy could bring between $300 million and $400 million to the Anglo-Dutch consumer products conglomerate. Unilever has retained Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) to locate a buyer and oversee a deal to sell the brand, Bloomberg noted.
With 18.1% of the market, Skippy is the second-ranked peanut butter in the U.S., behind the popular Jif brand, owned by J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM). It produced $300 million in sales last year.
Reducing its presence in the foods business it part of a larger restructuring effort at Unilever intended to shed non-essential businesses and focus more closely on higher-margin health and beauty products.
Recently, Unilever sold its Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s frozen foods brands to ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) for $267 million.
Still, food products accounted for 30% of Unilever sales last year.
Analysts speculated that Unilever could eventually sell Skippy for more than $400 million.
Shares of Unilver rose fractionally in Thursday morning trading in New York.
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