Swiss group Nestle has been given the all clear by the US Federal Trade Commission to proceed with its acquisition of Chef America, the fifth largest producer of frozen food in the US.
Nestle announced the planned $2.6 billion (€2.7bn) acquisition of Chef America in August, and the sale is now expected to be completed immediately. The Swiss firm will now become the clear leader in two of the three main frozen food categories in the US, the world's largest market for these products, combining Chef America with its existing Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine business.
Chef America is best known for its frozen hand-held food products that are sold under the Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets and Croissant Pockets brands. The company is expected to generate sales of $720 million in 2002.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the US, Dutch retail group Ahold has announced that it is to acquire the Lady Baltimore Foods foodservice distribution business based in Kansas City, Kansas. The acquisition will be made via Ahold's US Foodservice subsidiary, which will gain increased distribution in key markets such as Kansas City, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri and St. Louis, Missouri.
Lady Baltimore sells and distributes over 14,000 food items and kitchen supplies to a broad base of institutional customers that includes restaurants, schools and the healthcare sector in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois and Iowa.
US Foodservice was acquired by Ahold in April 2000 and serves more than 300,000 institutional customers with some 43,000 food products and related items.