VEVEY, SWITZERLAND -- Nestle, the manufacturer behind core chocolate brands such as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Crunch, 100 Grand, Skinny Cow, Raisinets, Chunky, Oh Henry! and Sno-Caps, as well as nonchocolate brands such as SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Fun Dip, Pixy Stix, Gobstopper, Bottle Caps, Spree and Runts, is exploring options for its confectionery side of the business, including a sale.
The review covers the U.S. market only, and the company said in a statement that it expects to complete it by the end of this year.
The sale would not include the company's iconic Toll House brand, which Nestle will continue to grow in the United States. The company, with U.S. offices in Glendale, Calif., will also continue to invest in pet care, bottled water, frozen meals, infant food and ice cream.
In February, the Vevy, Switzerland-based company's CEO Ulf Mark Schneider told CNBC that Nestle would be prepared if the right opportunity for mergers or acquisitions came along that made "strategic sense."
"When it comes to M&A, I think Nestle is no stranger to that," he told CNBC. "In fact some of the most strident deals of the 1980s that actually put the company on the map where it is today ... those were coming from here."
The company, with U.S. confectionery sales of $922.9 million, "remains fully committed to growing its leading international confectionery activities around the world, particularly its global brand KitKat," it said. Nestle’s global confectionery sales amounted to $9 billion in 2016.
The United States is Nestle’s largest market, with sales of $27.4 billion across all brands in 2016. The confectionery business represents about 3% of U.S. sales. Other Nestle products can be found in 97% of U.S. households under brands such as Purina, Nestle Pure Life, Coffee-mate, Gerber and Stouffer’s.