Swiss food giant Nestle SA, the world's largest food company is close to buying US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's infant nutrition business for $9 billion, The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Nestle , which was pitted against French dairy major Groupe Danone (BN) SA and US paediatric nutrition giant Mead Johnson, appears to have triumphed in the auction, and Pfizer and Nestlé are expected to announce a deal as soon as next week, the report said.
Groupe Danone and Mead Johnson had teamed up against the Swiss food giant in the second round of the auction for the world's second-largest infant nutrition business. (See: Danone, Mead Johnson team up against Nestle for Pfizer's $10-bn infant nutrition)
The two-horse race became possible after Danone and Mead Johnson got Pfizer's approval to jointly bid in the second round of auction scheduled for 5 March.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based ketchup king H J Heinz Company had also entered the second round of the auction, but signalled its retreat, when its CEO, William Johnson, said that it would invest more in condiments and sauces rather than ''bet the ranch'' on a big deal.