The Switzerland-based food and drink processing conglomerate Nestle has agreed to sell its bottled-water business in the US and Canada to private-equity firm One Rock Capital Partners for $4.3 billion, as the multinational company continues to revamp its portfolio.
The sale to US-based One Rock involves well-known brands including Poland Spring and Deer Park. Nestle’s international premium brands including Perrier, San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are not part of the deal.
Tony W. Lee, Managing Partner of One Rock, commented, “Nestlé Waters North America’s iconic brands have earned the trust and preference of consumers everywhere due to an uncompromising commitment to quality. We are excited to further this commitment and build upon the market leadership of the business alongside the Company’s talented management team.”
Nestle, the largest food company in the world, in June last year announced its strategic review of the unit, as it planned to sharpen the focus of its global water portfolio.
The foodmaker has been revamping its portfolios and divesting assets since Mark Schneider became chief executive officer in 2017, as he focuses on faster-growing areas like coffee and pet food while pivoting away from snacks.
Bottled water sales have struggled to recover amid a decline in out-of-home dining during the pandemic. Nestle’s North American water business, which is the largest in the world, had sales of about $3.8 billion in 2019, excluding the international brands.
Facing pressure from activist investors demanding higher profit, Mr. Schneider has moved the world’s largest food and beverage company away from convenience foods and invested in a plant-based push, including launching the first vegan KitKat.
The massive company’s portfolio includes baby food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods and snacks.
One Rock Capital Partners
The private equity firm One Rock makes controlling investments in companies with potential for growth and operational improvement using a rigorous approach to acquire and enhance businesses in select industries.