Unilever may be nearing deals for Ragu, Slim Fast

by Keith Nunes
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LONDON — Unilever’s strategic review of its North American business portfolio may be coming to a conclusion soon.

When asked by an analyst for an update on the review during a conference call April 24 to discuss the company’s first-quarter results, Jean Marc-Huet, chief financial officer, noted that the review is ongoing, but “these things don’t take years.” Mr. Marc-Huet declined to provide further comment, but industry speculation has focused on Hormel Foods Corp. and Pinnacle Foods as companies interested in the businesses.

Unilever has been divesting some of its North American portfolio since last year. The company announced plans to sell its Skippy peanut butter business to Hormel in January 2013 and in August 2013 it sold its Wish-Bone salad dressing brand to Pinnacle Foods.

Mr. Marc-Huet added that once the Ragu and Slim-Fast businesses are divested it will “bring to a conclusion the reshaping that we had planned for North America.”
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